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Cornell University Library 
F 74W7 P36 

History of Wiibraha 

m, Massachusetts: pre 

L !' 


3 1924 028 839 938 

Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


History of Wilbraham 


Prepared in Connection with the 
Celebration of the 

One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary 

0/ the 

Incorporation of the Town 

JUNE 15, 

, 1913 







The fact that the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the 
incorporation of Wilbraham was approaching, was brought to 
the attention of the town at the annual meeting held in 1911, 
by the following article in the warrant : 

Art. 17. "To see if the town will take any action in regard 
to the celebration of its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary 
in 1913." Under this article the following votes were passed. 

"Voted that the town celebrate the One Hundred and 
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town." 

"Voted that a committee of five be chosen to make all 
arrangements for the celebration, with power to act, and that 
they report at the next annual meeting the result of the progress 

The following committee was chosen : 

Chatmcey E. Peck, chairman 
Charles C. Beebe, Ethelbert Bliss, 

Benj. F. Greene, Miss Evanore O. Beebe. 

At a meeting of the Historical Committee, held soon after- 
wards, Chauncey E. Peck was chosen historian, and Miss 
Evanore O. Beebe secretary. At the annual town meeting in 
1912, a report of the progress made was given by the chairman, 
and the town voted to instruct the committee to publish an 
illustrated history of the town. 

Many meetings were held by the Historical Committee, and 
many sub-coinmittees were appointed to arrange different 
details of the program for the celebration. All of which were 
carried out in a manner creditable to those who had arranged 
them, as will appear from reading the newspaper accounts of 
the celebration. 

The actual day of the signing of the Act of Incorporation was 
on June 15th, but as that day came on Sunday in 1913, it was 
decided to begin the three days' celebration on Tuesday, June 
17th. The first day's exercises, including the Historical 
Address, to be held at the centre village, the second day at 

iv Preface 

North Wilbraham, to include the dedication of the Public 
Library, and the third day at Glendale, with the unveiling of 
the Soldiers' Boulder there. All of the exercises were largely 
attended and were a complete success in every way. The 
spacious audience room in the M. E. Church was well filled on 
June 17th, and the exercises occupied a little more than two 
hours, including singing by the school children of three selec- 
tions, among which was "The Elegy of the Mountains," begin- 

"On Springfield mountains there did dwell 
A likely youth who was knowne full well." 

This was "lined off" according to the old style, by Harold 
BoUes, and sung to the tune of "Old Hundred." 

The Vital Records of Wilbraham — Births, Marriages and 
Deaths — ^will soon be printed in a separate volimie, and so, 
none of the genealogies of families are included here. 

I have just learned that there is a tin box in the town safe, 
sealed up and marked, "Not to be opened until June 15th, 
1963." I mention it here, so that the future historian may 
know of its existence. 

In the preparation of this historical account of the different 
events which have happened here, and of the work wrought by 
our ancestors in the days long past, as well as that which has 
been accomplished in recent years, I have endeavored to relate 
the incidents in the order in which they occurred. And, so far 
as practicable, to complete each account before beginning 
another. The great amotint of time consumed in looking up 
facts contained in the records of the town, the parishes and the 
churches, as well as records outside of the town, will account 
for the time which has passed since the address was delivered. 

Only about one-tenth of the "History," as here printed, was 
delivered in the address. 

I place my more than two years' work in your hands, trusting 
it may meet with your approbation. 

Wilbraham, October 1, 1914. 


Pages 1 to 24 

Introduction. Emigration from England. Journey to Con- 
necticut River. Deed of Part of Outward Commons, Allotment 
of, Measuring Width of. Roger Newbiiry's Survey. Indians. 
Pages 24 to 44 

First Settlers in Wilbraham. "Clark" Warner Record. 
First Deaths and Burials. School in Outward- Commons. 
Peggy's Dipping Hole. The Way to Zion by Way of Springfield. 
Popidation of, 1741. First Precinct Meeting. Deed of Over- 
plus Land to Minister, Fixing His Salary, Ordination of. 
Pages 46 to 67 

First Page of Minister's Record. Location of Meetinghouse. 
Building Minister's House. The Parson's Rose. Materials 
for Meetinghouse, First Use of. First Baptism in. First Action 
to be Set Off as a Town. Meetinghouse Lane. 
Pages 68 to 77 

Seating of Meetinghouse Recorded 1760. Ministry and 
School Lots. Trouble in the Church, 1754. First SchooUiouse. 
"Master" Ezra Barker. Road Laid from Goose Pond to 
Outward Commons. "World's End Brook." Kilbom's 
Bridge. Ensign Abel Bliss, House of, Indian Boy at. 
Pages 78 to 100 

First Settlers in 'South Part. Lieut. Thomas Merrick. 
Timothy Mirrick, Bitten by Rattlesnake, Ode on. House of. 
Epitaph, Place of Burial. Soldiers in French War. Journal 
of "Clark" Samuel Warner. Second and Third Attempts to 
be Set Off as a Town. Act of Incorporation. Origin of Name. 
"Wil-bra-ham, not A-bra-ham." Population of. School 

Pages 101 to 116 

Singing in Church. Mr. Merrick's Salary, His Health Fail- 
ing, Death of. His Accotmt Book, Ancestry of. Mrs. Abigail 
Merrick. No Settled Minister in North Parish For Eleven 
Years. Preaching in the South Part Refused. South Parish 
Set Off. Will of Dea. Nathaniel Warriner. Valuation of 
Wilbraham in 1771. 

Pages 117 to 142 

The Revolutionary War, Cause of. Appeal from Merchants 
of Boston. Non-consimiption Report.' Tories in Town. 
"Minute Men." Lexington Alarm. Depreciated Money. 
Council Refuses to Ordain Samuel Ely as a Minister. The 

vi Table of Contents 

Shays' Rebellion. Anecdote about Deacon Warriner House. 
Journal of Dr. Samuel F. Merrick. Soldiers in Revolutionary- 

Pages 142 to 160 

The Green, Petition to Set Off. Library. The Old Hoe— an 
Epigram. Copy From Papers of John Bliss, Esq. First 
Church History from 1794. Moving Meetinghouse to Present 
Location. Meeting of Parish Called to Meet in Methodist 
Meetinghouse. Sermon of Rev. Joseph Lathrop, D.D. Church 
Bell Purchased. Fencing Burying Yards. 
Pages 160 to 182 

"Minister Money." Record from Supreme Court. Parish 
Loan. Seating of the Meetinghouse, Twenty-seven Children 
Baptised at One Service. Nine Mile Pond Tragedy, Odes on. 
Epitaphs of Those Drowned. Lease of Pond by The Town. 
Bungalows Erected. 

Pages 182 to 200 

The Marcus Lyon Murder, Account Published in Massa- 
chusetts Spy of Worcester, Execution of Murderers. First 
Methodist Society, Charles Brewer, Lease of Land, One Pepper 
Com. Bishop Asbury. New England Methodist Conference, 
Petition for Incorporation, Objections to. Camp Meeting, 
First Legal Meeting of Society, Bequest of Moses K. Bartlett, 
Sale of the Old House, Slips Owned by Individuals, One of 
Them Attached to Pay a Debt. Poem on Old Church. 
Pages 201 to 212 

Baptist Church at Colton Hollow, Gathering of, Council to 
Establish, Hear a Complaint, Church Covenant Signed by. 
Ministers Who Belong to or Attend the Masonic Lodge. 
Complaint of Oliver Bliss Against Bro. Asa Beebe. Other 
Complaints. Move to South Wilbraham. Petitions for 
Incorporation of Other Societies. 

Pages 212 to 232 

Militia, Training Day. Railroads, First Railroad Station, 
Moved to Oak Street. First Station at North Wilbraham. 
Wilbraham Aqueduct Company. Wilbraham Academy, 
Catalogue for 1836, Location of. Town Loan and Surplus 

Pages 233 to 260 

Millerite Excitement. Doctor Bottom Sees Woman up in 
Tree. Sermon Preached on "The False Alarm." The Civil 
War. Troubles in Kansas, Wilbraham Man There, Men 
Furnished, Money For, Return of the Standards, Personal 

Table of Contents vii 

Experiences in, Men in, Men Drafted. Soldiers' Monument, 
Donor of. Crane Park. 

Pages 261 to 276 

The Great Washout on B. & A. R. R. in 1869. Business of 
the Town in 1837. Woolen Mill at South Wilbraham, on 
Eleven Mile Brook. The Coffins Mfg. Co. The Cutler Co. 
Ludlow Mfg. Co. Tobacco. Cheese Factories. Sheep. 
Peach Industry. Increase in Valuation of Town in Thirty 
Years. Items from Massachusetts Register 1814. Items from 
"Clark" Warner record. Almanac for 1748. 
Pages 277 to 284 

First Baptist Church, Society Constituted, Ordination of 
Rev. Seth Clark, Society "Lost its Visibility," Meetinghouse 
Bvimed, Location of. The Glendale Methodist Episcopal 
Church, Methodist Class Formed, Origin of Name, Meeting- 
house Erected, Incorporation. Grace IJnion Church at North 
Wilbraham, Meetings in Liberty Hall, Society Incorporated. 
The Christian Union Church. Church of Saint Cecilia. 
Pages 286 to 308 

The Public Schools, Appropriations From Springfield, First 
Schoolhouse, Teachers Boarding Around, Private, Districts, 
Drawing, Singing, Flags, Table of Expenses, Graduating 
Exercises 1912. List of Representatives. Town Clerks. 
Physicians. Division of the Town. Memorial Town Hall. 
Electric Railway. Telephone. California Adventurers. Cap- 
tain Kidd's Gold. Good Templars. Free Masons. Grange. 
Farmers Club. Literary Society. Dell Cemetery. 
Pages 309 to 340 

Slavery. Warner Record. Fragments. Warner Papers, 
His "Dream." Toll Gate. Wilbraham Turnpike. Strange 
Accident. Disposal of Poor. Kibbe's Shirt. Presbjrterian 
Saddle, (^enery of Wilbraham^ Celebration, Newspaper 
Accounts OT^ The Parade, Dinner, "Speeches of Guests, Singing, 

Pages 341 to 360 

Close of Address. Loan Exhibit. Second Day of Celebra- 
tion, Dedication of Library, Cantata, Address of Librarian 
Wilcox, Prof. J. T. Bowne, Rev. Dr. W. R. Newhall, Loan 
Exhibit. Third Day of Celebration, Boulder Unveiled, Wm. R. 
Sessions, Dr. Marshall Calkins, Speakers, Anti-Slavery Demon- 
stration, Exhibition of Antiques. Farms and Homes of Wil- 



Town Crier, ... xii 

Anniversary Committee, xiv 

Old Boundary Stone, .10 

Soapstone Boulder, . 23 

Indian Fireplace, .... 25 

First Page of "Clark" Warner Record, 28 

First Page of Minister's Record, : 46 

House of Isaac Brewer, . 49 

View From the Mountain, 64 

Schoolhouse of the Old Time, . . 73 

Old Merrick House, 80 

Present Merrick House, 85 

Powder Horn, . 141 

Schoolhouse on ' ' The Green, " 142 

Levi Bliss House, . . .164 

Congregational Churches, Burned, 169 

First Methodist Meeting House, . 191 

Brewer Inn Sign, . . 192 

Four Collins Family Portraits, . . , 217 

First Station at North Wilbraham, . . 218 

Academy Rich Hall and Headmaster's House, 222 

View Across the Campus from Gjminasium, 227 

Bridge over Chicopee River, . 232 

Spencer Carbine and Sabre Hilt, . 251 

Soldiers' Monument, 258 

PosHt Home, 260 

Train Passing over Trestle after Washout, . 263 

Cutler Company Mill, ... .267 

Peach Orchard, . . .271 
Clover Mowing and Barn, . ... 271 

Glendale Church and Cemetery, . 280 
Grace Union Church, .... 282 

Christian Union Church, 284 

Chttfch of Saint Cecilia, ... . 285 

School Children, in Costume, .... 292-293 

Grange Hall, 306 

Stage Receipt, . 317 

View from Mountain, Westerly, 326 

View from Mountain, Northwesterly, 327 

One of the Floats, 333 

List of Illustbations ix 


One of the Floats, . . 335 

One of the Floats, ... 338 

Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, . 340 

Cutler Public Library, . 343 

Henry Cutler, Portrait, . 345 

Unveiling Boulder, . . . 350 

Soldiers' Boulder at Glendale, . 350 

Dr. Marshall Calkins, . . 352 

Anti-slavery Demonstration, 353 

Maplehurst, . . 354 

Maplehurst, Interior, . 356 

Maplehurst, Interior, . .... 357 

Selectmen of Wilbraham, . 359 

Congregational Church, . . . . 361 

Rev. Martin S. and Mrs. Howard, 363 

The Merrick Elm, . 365 

Home of Clarence M. Ripley, .... 366 

The "Mile Tree," . . . 371 

Home of Ethelbert Bliss, . 375 

View of Main Street, . . . . 376 

Ira G. Potter, ... .378 

Home of Chauncey E. Peck, 378 

Home of Fred W. Green, 380 

The Nelson Mowry Homestead, . 383 

Home of WiUiam G. Rogers, 384 

Robert R. Wright, .385 

Mr. and Mrs. Nathan C. Rice, . 388 

Mrs. Nancy (Bliss) Rice, 389 

Home of Mrs. Sarah (Bliss) Gillet, . . . 390 

Old Homestead of Rev. Joseph A. Merrill, 392 

Rev. Nathaniel J. Merrill, . 393 

Home of Annis Merrill, . . ... 394 

Schoolhouse, District No. 8, . . . . . . 395 

Embryo Pine Forest, .... . 397 

Homestead of Francis E. Clark, . . 398 

Schoolhouse, District No. 1, . . . . 400 

Schoolhouse, District No. 2, "The Pines," . . 405 

The First Bungalow in "Wilbraham, . ... 408 

Schoolhouse, District No. 5, . . 409 

A Rare Scene, . . .411 

Home of Mrs. Leola B. Edson, . . . . 412 

Schoolhouse, District No. 7, . . . 413 

Home of Allyn M. Seaver, . . . . 415 

X List of Illustrations 


View Showing One of the Industries in which Mr. Seaver 

is interested, ...... 415 

Home of H. H. Graves, . 417 

"Brookmont," ... 418 

"The Century Homestead," 420 

The Rindge Oak, . 421 

Rev. Charles H. Gates, 422 

Wilbraham Woolen Company's Mill, 424 

Homestead of Levi Ruggles Bliss, . 426 

Auto Inn, ........ . 427 

Home of Ernest L. Thompson, . . . . 430 

Home of Mrs. Lizzie (Collins) Warren, .... 431 

Present Railroad Station at North Wilbraham, 431 

Store of Nelson I. Bradway, .... 432 

Collins Inn, . . .433 

Home of Frank A. Fuller, . 434 

The Baldwin Maple, 435 

Erasmus B. Gates, ... ... 437 

Home of Mrs. Harriet (Kent) Gates, . . ■ . 437 

The Colonel Butler Homestead, . . 439 

Jason Butler, . 440 

Home of James S. Morgan, 441 

Schoolhouse, District No. 6, . . 442 

Schoolhouse, District No. 4, .... 447 

Home of Luther L. Farr, 451 

Birthplace of Dr. Marshall Calkins and Dr. David Calkins, 452 

Home of Randolph Beebe, 454 

Portrait, Town Clerk, 458 

Newbury Compass, ... . 459 

Memorial Town Hall, As Planned, . . 460 





"Town Crier, " Anson Soule, 6 ft. 3 ins. tall; 
weight, 240 pounds; age, 83 years. 


Chableb C. 

Benjamin F. Greene, 


Me. President, 

Sons and Daughters, Dear Mother Springfield, 
Good Daughter Hampden, Friends and Neighbors of 


"What is there to be seen 
On the Wilbraham hills of green, 
And what do you hear, and is it in your way? 
I hear my mother call, 
To her children one and all, 
And I see the children coming through all this 
summer day." '■ 

We have gathered on this anniversary occasion to recall the 
distant days of our ancestors. To re-tell the story of their 
struggles and their triumphs, and to gain such inspiration as 
we can, to carry on the work which they commenced here, and 
have now left for us to do. In a general way, to make ourselves 
better, to make Wilbraham better, and so, help to make the 
world better. 

It is an interesting subject we have to consider, and the 
fascination of it grows upon one, the longer we study it. 

I shall try to tell the story, so far as I can, in the order in 
which the events happened, and shall quote from the address 
of Dr. Samuel F. Merrick, delivered here in the old First 
Church on "Election Day," May, 1831, and from the Stebbins 
History of 1863. 

When we try to realize the great length of time which some 
portions of the world have been occupied by civilized people, 
we are astonished at the progress which has been made in this 
New World, in less than three hundred years. In the year 1630, 
seventeen ships sailed from England's shore, bringing 1600 
passengers, to this, then almost unbroken wilderness. 

Those sixteen hundred people were not the first, but they 
were among the best that ever came. "Among them, John 

^ From poem by Mrs. Jennie Tupper Dowe. 

2 The History of Wilbraham 

Winthrop and his friend, William Pynchon, bringing the 
Charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, both patentees, 
Winthrop governor, Pynchon assistant. They reinforce the 
company already there and rapidly increasing; bold, hardy, 
resolute men; brave, gentle, patient women. They settle in 
Roxbury, Newton, Dorchester, Watertown." Pynchon had 
lived in Roxbury scarce a year, when three Indian Sachems 
came from the valley of the fair Connecticut River. They 
bring rich furs of beaver, otter, fox, wolf, and mink. They tell 
of their great river, fertile meadows, the salmon, bass, shad and 
sturgeon. John Cable and John Woodcock go to explore. 
They bring back a good report. William Pynchon himself 
explores. The western fever grows, and while the people of the 
Bay protest, the boldest spirits, most enterprising, the very 
elect, prepare to go. — The Roxbury people will follow Pjmchon 
to Agawam. There is romance in those paths. The leave- 
takings with old neighbors, the Indian trail through dim old 
woods and boggy meadows, the river fords, the ringing axes, 
the camp fires under lofty pines or by some gurgling brook, the 
feebler women borne on litters, the little children lulled to sleep 
upon their hemlock beds by the soughing of the wind among the 
tree tops, frightened by the screeching owls, the howling wolves, 
or the painted Indian. The procession of lowing cattle, the 
shouting boys, the pack horses, the armed men with trusty 
match-locks on their shoulders; and at mom and night the 
waj^arers gather about the pastor while the psalms are read 
and the prayers are said. 

"And they shook the depths of the forest gloom. 
With their hymns of lofty cheer." 

In Dr. Samuel F. Merrick's address, delivered in Wilbraham, 
May, 1831 (after about 50 words of introduction) he says, "As 
the first settlement here took place but about twenty years 
before the speaker was bom, and he having conversed famil- 
iarly with the first settlers, and living here almost eighty years, 
he has been invited to communicate some of his recollections of 
past events." Speaking of the journey from Roxbury to 

The History of Wilbraham 3 

eld, Dr. Merrick says, "They accordingly took their 
vith their wives and their little ones, their flocks and 
;rds, and all that they had and entered the howling 
;ss, where nothing dwelt but beasts of prey and men 
ivage far than they. And after encountering innu- 

hardships, in three weeks they arrived at their destined 

abode, without being attacked by the savages or any 
aterial injury. They then took up four towns to wit, 
rsfield, Hartford, Windsor and Springfield, the latter 

le first of May, 1636, 277 years ago, William Pjmchon 
?ith his Roxbury neighbors by the old bay path to 

bulkier goods have already gone by water in John 
)p's shallop, the Blessing of the Bay. "Learned, gifted, 
, devout, every way qualified for leadership, Pynchon 
; the father of Springfield, as he had been the father of 
{." "On July 15th, 1636 a treaty of purchase was 
ith the Indians, the conveyance bearing the nam'es or 

of thirteen chiefs and sachems. The grantees named 
iUiam Pynchon, Henry Smith and Jehu Burr and their 
iS." About the same time the land easterly from the 
icut River, for a distance of about five miles, or to Five 
)nd, (near the present Parker Street) was purchased 
5 IndiaAs, by William Pynchon and his associates for 
abitants of Springfield. In, or about 1674, Elizur 
I and others purchased from the Indians the land lying 

of the Pynchon purchase, to the mountains. The 
g is a copy of the Deed. 

of part of the outward commons (in the original copy 
!r u is sometimes in shape like the letter v, which error 
Lot followed) : 

lence of the relinquishment of the claim of the Indians 
erritory west of the moimtains, found in the office of 
' of Deeds of Hampden County. 

evidence of the purchase of lands at Freshwater River, 
1 the medowes on both sides the River, as also from the 

The Histoet of Wilbeaham 

mds from the five mile pond Eastward to y= motmtains & so 
orthward to Chickuppe River, being purchaes fro y' Indians 
iTequaugan Wawapaw & Wequampo: by & for y* Town of 

"These presents testify that the Indian called Wequagan, 
)rmerly called Wruthema & the Indian called Wawapaw 
jrmerly called Norapompolom in consideration of the sume of 
•ne Hundred & twenty fathom of Wampam to them in hand 
aid, And that the Indian called Wequompo in consideration of 
xty fathom of Wampam to him in hand paid Have given 
ranted bargain^ & sold. And by these p^sents Doe fully 
[early & absolutely give, grante bargain & sel unto Elizur 
[olyoke, George Coulton Benjamin Cooley, Samuel Marsh- 
eld & Anthony Dorchester, for the use & behoofe of the Town 
E Springfield certaine tracts of Land Upland Medowes and 
wamps hereafter mentioned & described. That is to say, the 
dd Wequagan & Wawapaw first acknowledging that their 
.ncesto" Did sel unto M' William Pynchon late of Spring- 
eld, for the use & behoofe of the said Town of Springfield a 
ood Portion or tracts of Land lying on the East side of the 
Liver Qrainecticut (& by the said River) that is to say, by the 
iver, along from the lower end of the" (medow, called by the 
fidians Massacksic & by the English called the) Long meadow 
p to Chickuppe River. And in breadth Eastward for al that 
ength about as far from the River Quinecticut, as the five mile 
ond w'^'' lyes by the Bay path; Concerning w'^'' Tract of Land 
le said Wequaugan & Wawapaw Doe for themselves & their 
uccessors, for the use & behoofe of the Inhabitants of Spring- 
eld, forever quit al right Title Interest Claime & Demand in 
: to al the said Tract of Land before described. And the Tract 
E Land w^*" the said Wequaugan & Wawapaw Do hereby Sel 
3 aforesaid Lyeth partly by & adjoineth to the South end & 
!ast side of the Tract of Land above described (w'^'' they 
cknowledg was sold to the said M' William Pynchon as afore- 
iid) That is to say, All the Lands w'='' lie w^'in the bounds 
ereafter mentioned. And therefore the South bounds thereof, 
1 the Riveret called by the Indians Asnuntuel (& by the English 
!alled freshwater River, or freshwater brooke) & soe from the 
louth of that Riveret vizt. from Connecticut or Quineciticut 
Liv' the botmds Runs up the said Riveret to the medows 
lereupon & from thence up the said Riveret, the bounds take 
1 al the medows on both sides of freshwater River or brookes 
lat Rtm Into it to the upland on the Southerly side of such 
ledows: & at the Place where Freshwater River or freshwater 

The History of Wilbraham 5 

ce turns Northerly, the south bounds extend Eastward to 
liveret called Seantuck, viz', the place by the fals, where 
path that leads to Pequit or Moheage goes over that 
ret & fro thence the s*^ River Se'antucke is the General 
ds of the Lands contained in this Purchase, vizt. up to the 
; where the said River or Riveret Seantuck comes down 

the Mountaines, yet Al the medows on both sides of 
tuck River, are likewise contained in the Purchase, And 

the Place where Seantuck River conies down from the 
itaines, the foot of the mountaines is the Easterly bounds, 
3 far Northerly til it meet with the Lands purchased of the 
Wequompo: & the West botmds or border are the Lands 
erly sold to m'' William Pjmchon late of Springfield as 
:s^ And the said Wequagan & Wawapaw Doe for y™selves 
eir successors to the use and behoofe of the Inhabitants of 
igfield for Ever quit al claime to & al right title & Interest 
ly of Lands above mentioned & hereby sold, & which are 
lined w'Hn the bounds abovementioned. Except liberty 
shing & hunting, which they Reserve to themselves, yet 
io damnify the English thereby. At w'^'^ tract of Lands 
ire Contained w"4n the bounds above mentioned, together 
il the profit and comoditys thereupon or thereunto belong- 
;he said Elizur Holyoke, George Coulton, Benjamin Cooley, 
ael Marshfield & Anthony Dorchester for the use & behoofe 
ce & imploymen' of the Towne of Springfield (& not other- 
I are to have hold & Enjoy y"selves & their heires for Ever 
it let, ' trouble or molestation from the s^ Wequaugan 
rapaw or any other: And the tract of Land hereby sold by 
uompo are such as are contained w'Mn the bounds & 
s hereafter mentioned & Described, That is to say. The 
h bounds thereof are the lands before mentioned, sold by 
uaugan & Wawapaw; And Eastward the Foot of the 
[itaines are the boimds thereof; & Northerly Chickuppe 
r is the bounds thereof; And the Westerly bounds thereof 
;he lands above mentioned form''ly sold to M"' William 
;hon as aforesaid. At w'='' Tract of Land soe bounded & 
ibed together w"" all the profits & comoditys thereupon or 
!unto belonging the said Elizur Holyoke, George Coulton, 
amin Cooley, Samuel Marshfield & Anthony Dorchester 
he use & behoofe, service & Employm' of the Towne of 
Igfield & not otherwise, are to have hold & enjoy for them- 
s & their heires for Ever, w^'out let trouble or molestation 

the said Indian called Wequompo, or any other: And the 
Wequompo Doth for himselfe & his successo'^s for the use. 

The Histoey of Wilbkaham 

ihooie & benefit of the Inhabitants of Springfield for Ever 
lit al claim to & al his right, Title & Interest in any of the 
ands above mentioned to be sold & w'^'' are Contained wi'Mn 
le bounds above expressed: Except liberty of Fishing & 
unting w'^'^ he reserveth : And it is the intent of these presents 
lat y* s"* Elizvir Holyoke, George Covdton, Benjamin Cooley, 
imuel Marshfield & Anthony Dorchester themselves and their 
;ires for ever by virtue of these Presents are not to have any 
mefit or Priviledge in the Lands, otherwise than as they are 
■ shal be Inhabitants of the Town of Springfield or otherwise, 
ten in General in & w"" the Town, or otherwise then they have 
gal Right therein, or may be granted by the Town, for that 
le Lands sold by the Indians above named, are so sold for & 
I y^ onley use & behoofe of the Inhabitants of Springfield & 
I be wholy at their disposure. 

"Febr. 4th, 1678. Being desired at a Town meeting in Spring- 
;ld to declare what I Imow concerning the Purchase of the 
mds abovesaid; I doe declare and attest as foUoweth viz: 

"The Indians above named, viz. Wequaugan & Wawapaw 

Wecombo the true & proper owners of al the Lands above 
entioned Did sel and by sale forever passe away al the Land 
)ove mentioned to M' Elizur Holyoke, Geo. Colton, Benja. 
ooley, Saml Marshfield & Anthony Dorchester for the use & 
;hoofe of the Town of Springfield: The bargain being made 

my presence, and as I remember It was in the year 1674 or 
lereabouts; I was often w"" y" in Treaty about it, w"^"" at 
st came to a conclusion, to be as above-mentioned, the pay- 
ent also for the Lands as above exp'sse'*, passing through my 
mds to the Indians, which they Gladly accepted & did will- 
gly own the sale to me after this Deed was Drawne, they 
imeing particularly one at a tyme to me to subscribe it, when 
told them they must come altogether, the want of which was 
le onley obstruction, for they often severaly acknowledged 
le sale, & this writing to be according to their mind, and mean- 
g. Also testifying their Readines to come altogether & 
Lscribe, w'^'' as they promised, so doubtless they would 
ive done but that the Indian Warre happening in the 
!ar 1675, They w"" other Indians were drove away, before 
hich time they made the above express"* Sale, And I do 
;clare they did come personally & owne & acknowledg the 
inveighaiice & sale of the Land above mentioned, as above 

The History of Wilbraham 7 

This then done & by y" Indians Wequaugan & Wawapaw 
ecombo owned & acknowledged Before me 

JOHN PYNCHON, Assistant." 

This entred these Records for the County of Hampshire 
12th 1679 as Attest John Holyoke, Recor<'^" 

lave not been able to find the original deed convejring the 
east of the line indicated by this deed, 
lere are many traditions respecting the claim of a blind 
m to the (mountain part) of the territory of this town, and 
me compensation made to him to liquidate it. What was 
own of Wilbraham from 1763 to 1878, was originally a part 
be territory of Springfield, which territory was about 
ty-five miles square, extending from Connecticut River 
to the present line of Monson, west to Russell or there- 
ts and from Warehouse Point, or about the south line of 
;ld, to the mountains or thereabouts on the north. I do 
indertake to trace the boundary line accurately. On the 
side of this territory extending from Connecticut line to 
lorth line of the then town of Springfield there was a strip 
miles wide, called the "Mountains," or "Outward Com- 
)" of Springfield. There was also a strip on the west side 
Dout two-thirds the same length, and whose breadth is 
■mined by specified bounds called "Outward Commons of 
igfield, on the west side of the Great River." 
lese outward commons on each side of the river had not 
specially appropriated to any of the inhabitants of Spring- 

and there was reason to fear that Sir Edmund Andros, 
imor of Massachusetts, would take away the charter of the 
ly as he threatened to do, thus causing all the unappro- 
ed lands to revert to the crown-^become the property of 
:ing. To avoid such an undesirable transfer of ownership 
eir common lands, the inhabitants of Springfield voted in 

meeting February 3rd, 1685, that after reserving three 
red acres to the ministry, and one himdred and fifty acres 
ihools, on the "east side of the river" and a due proportion 

The History of Wilbeaham 

the ministry and schools on the "west side of the Great 
ver," the remainder be divided among the one hundred and 
enty-three heads of families or legal citizens; among these is 
;luded, by special vote, "our reverend teacher, Mr. Pelatiah 

Including the "ministry lot" and a "school lot," there 
3 therefore one hundred and twenty-five proprietors, among 
lom the land is to be divided. The division is to be 
ide according to estates and polls — each poll to be valued at 
2; It was also voted, that all male children, under age, 
Duld be counted as polls; and further, that while these lands 
3 unfenced, any person can use them for grass, herbage, and 
aber and that they shall be free from taxes till improved. 
; the lands appropriated would necessarily vary very much 
value, and as it was not only just, but desirable; that each 
oprietor should have at least a chance to secure a good lot or 
portion of one, these "outward commons" on the east side of 
e river were divided into three portions and those on the 
2st side into two portions, making five portions in all. These 
irtions were numbered from one to 125, beginning with the 
irthemmost portion on the east side; and each of the one 
Lndred and twenty-five proprietors was to have one share in 
ch portion or division, making five shares in all. The first 
vision and part of the second were north of Chicopee River, 
le second division extended from about a mile north of 
tiicopee River, south about four miles to about 40 rods north 
the Tinkham Road, or to the south line of the farm of the 
irs of James Merrick, formerly of Deacon Moses Burt, who 
lilt the stone house now standing there in 1830, and extending 
2st from Monson line four miles, to the line of the Inner Com- 
ons, about half a mile west of the four comers, where our 
•esent Springfield Street crosses West Street. The third 
vision was bounded north by the second division, east by 
[onson line, and extended south to near the top of the old 
otash Hill, to what was then supposed to be the line of Con- 
jcticut, and west to the line of the "inner commons," the 
ime as the west bounds of the second division. The "inner 

The History of Wilbraham 9 

is" was that territory which extended from the "out- 
tmnions" west to the settled portions of Springfield, 
LBS called the plains. Each of these five divisions was 
jpropriated to one hundred and twenty-three persons, 
t for the ministry, and one for the schools. We may say 
!re one hundred and twenty-five proprietors, or persons, 
whom each division is to be divided. There will be 
e one hundred and twenty-five lots in each "division." 
its are numbered, beginning at the north side of each 
; the north lot being one, the next two, and so on up to 
dred and twenty-five. These same numbers are drawn 
Dox like a lottery; from another box, at the same time 
suppose, is drawn a proprietor's name. The proprietor 
w. No. 1 would have the first lot in the "division," he 
w No. 2 would have the second lot, and so on till the 
umber, one hundred and twenty-five, was drawn. Then 
lid be drawn for the second division, and so on till all 
sions were drawn. After the number of the proprietor's 
settled, the next step was to determine its width; its 
vas four miles of necessity, because the lots extended 
he "commons" from east to west. The "width was 
tied by adding together, the value of all the polls and 
and then, as the whole amount would represent all the 
one division, or the whole extent north and south of 
lur miles, so each man's estate and polls would represent 
ddual portion of each division, or the width of his lot. 
sm in simple proportion. John Holyoke was chosen to 
it a list of the estates and poUs, and very probably to 
end the allotment. The lots varied in width from one 
. and thirty-three rods, fifteen feet, and nine inches, 
as the width of Colonel Pjmchon's lot, being No. 2 in 
)nd division, lying north of Chicopee River, and lot 
in the third division, lying about one and one-half or 
;s south of the north line of the present town of Hamp- 
jm to only eight feet and nine inches in width, which 
width of the lot of William Brooks, being No. Ill in 
nd division, and No. 13 in the third division. 


The Histoey of Wilbeaham 

A lot four miles long and one rod wide would contain eight 
acres, so it will be seen that each of Colonel Pynchon's lots con- 
tained more than one thousand acres, and those of William 
Brooks about four acres each. It is said that no satisfactory, 
survey was made of these lots, though several were attempted, 
until 1729, when Mr. Roger Newbury ran the west line of the 
outward commons acceptably. In 1863 a boundary stone in 
the third division was said to be standing, or rather lying nearly 



11 ;;vi 


P ^^. 1 



.— ' 


W^Hi'lfr'^' k ^ ^^^^H 

i- ■- 



Now standing in southeast part of the town of Hampden. 

buried, on the north side of the then Sylvanus Stebbins farm, 
about ten rods west of the Main Street, and another was said 
to be standing about 1830 on the north side of the then Dr. 
Samuel F. Merrick house lot. It was many years before these 
allotments were definitely marked. Many of the original pro- 
prietors were dead, and the heirs of some of them were found 
with great difficulty, and it is said that another allotment was 
attempted in 1740 to about 400 persons, and another in 1754, 

The History of Wilbbaham 11 

on a different principle to 544 persons. But serious difficulties 
were in the way of new allotments. Some of the original lots 
had been sold, either by the original proprietors or their heirs, 
and it is said that the Pynchon heirs having obtained excellent 
portions, under the first allotment, would not agree to any new 

In the survey of the original lots, for some reason, only six- 
teen feet were allowed to a rod. This is always mentioned in 
the early deeds, when the width of the lot in rods is given, so 
there would be a strip of "over-plus land" on the south side of 
each division. The "over-plus land" on the south side of the 
third division was sixty-two rods wide, and by some mistake 
supposed to be the loss of a tally, there were eighty-two rods in 
width of "over-plus land" on the south side of the second 
division. The south side of the second division, on our Main 
Street, is now the south side of the farm of the heirs of James 
Merrick, formerly of Moses Burt. The line is about 40 rods 
north of the center of the Tinkham Road. 

The eastern line of the Outward Commons was bounded on 
Monson line, or Brimfield, as it was then called. On March 23, 
1684-85 a committee was sent out to survey and establish the 
line between Monson and Springfield. I copy the first part of 
their report. "We quickly found the Brooke there (Commonly 
called Stony Brooke) to Part and become two brookes — ^fol- 
lowed up the largest stream and found it to turn away East- 
ward — our Grant by y= Gen" Corte was from the Brooke — 
about 40 or 50 rods east from where the brooke parts — on Rising 
ground by the side of Stony Brook we pitched otir East Bounds, 
— about 40 or 50 rods further north we came to cross the Bay 
Path." They then ran the line to the north, and on April 6, 
1685 ran the line to the south. In 1735 the line between 
Brimfield and Springfield was again "Surveyed, Run & Re- 
newed. Beginning at a dead Pine tree Standing a little North- 
ward of the Bay Path or (more commonly called) the Old 

The following is a copy of the vote of the town of Springfield 
by which the land of the "Outward Commons" was allotted. 

12 The Histoby of Wilbraham 

It is said this copy was recorded a century after the vote was 
passed: — 

"Feb'y 3d, 1684 (1685 as we reckon) 

Att a General Town Meeting. 

"Further forasmuch as the additional bounds or Grant of 
Lands to this Town by the Hono'^'' Getf' Co" May last 1684, 
was & is to the present Inhabitants & proprieto" of Springfield 
their Heirs & assigns forever. Many of whom are desirous of & 
moving for their Share in s"* land, upon w'='^ w"" other Con- 
siderations Inducing, It was at this Meeting Voted & Con- 
cluded that the Eastern line or bound of the plantation of 
Springfield being run & Stated from Hadley Town bound on the 
North to Enfield Town bound on the South, Then aU the land 
from the s"* Eastern line for four miles westward toward the s^ 
Springfield from both the Northern & Southern bounds is 
hereby Granted & agreed to be laid out in Proprietys to Each 
p''sent Inhabitant & proprietor his Heirs & assigns forever his 
due proportion, & also the lands on the west Side of the Great 
River from John Riley'° Brook Northward to Northampton 
bounds, & to Westfield bounds westward. Also the land from 
the head of the Brook beyond Thomas Coopers that runs into 
three mile Brook unto Southfield Southward & unto Westfield 
westward be alike distributed to Each Inhabitant & pro- 
piieto'' their Heirs & assigns forever; & in special it was Voted 
that three hundred acres at the least be granted to the Ministry 
on the East side the River out of the land hereby first Voted to 
be laid out as af ores'*, & that one hundred & fifty acres be to 
the School out of the same & that the ministry & the School 
have their proportions in the lands on the west side of the Great 
River. As also that o' Reverend Teacher M"" Pelatiah Glover 
have his proportion in the lands hereby agreed to be laid out on 
both Sides of the Great River. It was further Voted & agreed 
that the lands on the East bounds of the Town Shall be laid out 
in three Divisions & that the lands on the west side the gr' 
River shall be laid out in two divisions to Each man his propor- 
tions. It was also Voted that these divisions to each man shall 
be by Casting of lotts, & that division by Casting lots, be by as 
many lots or Casting of lots as there be divisions. It was 
further Voted that the first lot begin on the Northerly part of 
the land to be divided; Also it was further Voted that these 
divisions be by Estates and poles, & that the poles be Esteemed 
in the Rate at twelve pounds p' pole, & that all Male Children 
under age be Valued as rateable polls Viz. 12 £ p' pole. It was 

The History of Wilbbaham 


ftirther Voted & Concluded that these lands when divided while 
Common or Unfenced shall be Common or free to all the 
Inhabitants for Grass, herbage & Timber & free from Rates 
till Improved & then Rated only as Improved, & that Jno. 
Holyoke draw a list of Estates & poles of the Inhabitants for 
the Measurer." 

I copy from the Stebbins History: 

The following is a copy of the allotment, made from the 
records of the town of Springfield. There was one division — 
the first — flying wholly in the present town of Ludlow, north of 
this second division, which was mostly in what is now the town 
of Wilbraham. 

"A list of the lotts in the second or middle division of the 
out-ward commons on the east side of the great river in Spring- 
field are as follows viz : — 

No. Rods Ft. In. 

1 Samuel Marshfield IS 2 6 

2 CoUo. Pynohon 133 15 9 

3 David Throw 1 5 .. 

i John Warner 11 1 7 

5 Samuel Stebbins 9 11 9 

6 James Stephenson 1 4 1 

7 Benjamin Knowlton. .. . 5 11 

8 Joseph Stebbins 15 12 

9 Obadiah Miller, Junr 8 9 

10 Ebenezer Jones 6 7 10 

11 Eliakim Cooley 11 1 6 

12 Jonathan Burt, Junr. ... 5 13 7 

13 Widow Bedortha 4 3 4 

14 Increase Sikes, Junr 10 8 

15 John Burt, Senr 5 4 10 

16 James Petty 4 6 .. 

17 Quartermaster Colton. . . 25 7 3 

18 James Munn 1 12 5 

19 Joseph Ely 1 5 .. 

20 Widow Sites, Senr 9 6 6 

21 John Stewart 7 7 10 

22 Joseph Cooley 5 14 6 

23 Jonathan Morgan 5 10 1 

24 Jonathan Taylor's Estate 5 11 . . 

25 John Holyoke 26 4 . . 

26 Henry Rogers 9 8 8 

27 John Colton 1 5 . . 

28 John Lamb 17 10 2 

29 John Miller 6 -5 . . 

30 School Lot. 18 9, . . 

31 Revd. Mr. Glover 21 8 9 

32 Thomas Miller 8 4 6 

33 Lazarus Miller 2 6 6 

34 Nathaniel Pritchard 8 1 11 

35 Henry Gilbert 4 2 . . 

36 Samuel Bliss, Junr 10 14 6 

37 Thomas Taylor 1 10 3 

38 Ministry Lott 37 4 .. 

39 Victory Sikes 1 11 1 

No. Boda Ft. In. 

40 Thomas Stebbins 5 10 6 

41 Thomas Gilbert 5 8 4 

42 Obadiah Cooley, Senr. . . 20 5 8 

43 James Warriner, Senr ... 20 8 

44 Daniel Cooley 13 9 5 

45 Nathaniel Munn 3 8 10 

46 Peter Swink 3 13 3 

47 Samuel Bliss, Senr 18 3 9 

48 John Bliss 18 9 .. 

49 Samuel Miller 5 7 6 

50 Nicholas Rust 7 . . . . 

51 Nathaniel Sikes, Senr — 4 .. 9 

52 Goodwife Foster's Estate 5 8 1 

53 Edward Stebbins 5 4 5 

54 Henry Chapin 19 14 

55 Samuel Jones 3 13 .. 

56 Joseph Bedortha 9 6 . . 

57 L'. Abel Wright 16 14 4 

58 Wido. Parsons 10 6 8 

59 John Scott 7 9 7 

60 Widow Beamon 8 12 

61 John Clarke 2 13 11 

62 Thomas Sweatman 2 10 . . 

63 John Clark's, Estate 6 11 2 

64 John Dumbleton 11 4 3 

65 Joseph Ashley 14 11 4 

66 Obadiah Miller, Junr.... 2 15 3 

67 John Keep's Estate 6 5 .. 

68 Philip Mattoon 5 11 . . 

69 Lt. John Hitchcock 22 2 4 

70 David Lumbard 8 1 11 

71 John Withers 1 5 .. 

72 Joseph Marks 1 5 .. 

73 Darnel Beamon 1 5 .. 

74 John Norton 8 3 8 

75 Thomas Day, Senr 16 3 5 

76 Edward Foster 9 7 4 

77 Samuel Bedortha 4 14 3 

78 Samuel Osburn 1 IS 6 


The History of Wilbkaham 

No. Rods Ft. In. 

79 Jonathan Ball 11 13 

80 Samuel Ferry, Senr 9 6 11 

81 Isaac Colton 13 3 3 

82 David Morgan 9 13 6 

83 John Barber. .. 11 4 

84 James Osbum 2 5 2 

85 Ensn. Cooley, Estate 6 9 10 

86 Jonathan Ashley 14 11 4 

87 John Bagg's Children ... 6 2 5 

88 James Barker 5 4 

89 Joseph Crowfoot's Estate 7 14 

90 Deacn. Benja. Parsons . . 12 6 7 

91 Capt. Thomas Colton. . . 10 13 8 

92 Samuel Ely, Senr 11 7 9, 

93 Isaac Morgan 13 1 

94 Joseph Thomas 9 5 2 

95 Samuel Bliss, 3d 2 14 4 

96 John Dorchester ■■! . . 22 2 9 

97 Joseph Leonard 14 8 9 

98 Luke Hitcheook, Senr.. . 10 7 6 

99 Wido. Munn 2 10 

100 Benjamin Cooley 7 3 6 

101 Wido. Biley 4 13 10 

102 Abel Leonard 6 3 9 

No. Bods Ft. In. 

103 Benjamin Stebbins, Senr. 5 4 10 

104 James Dorchester, Senr. . 12 11 

105 Japhet Chapin 23 2 1 

106 Thomas Merrick, Senr. . . 18 15 7 

107 Thomas Jones 1 10 . . 

108 Samuel Owen 9 6 11 

109 John Harmon 9 13 . . 

110 Rowland Thomas 12 6 7 

111 William Brooks 8 9 

112 Benjamin Leonard 10 13 3 

113 Josiah Leonard 10 10 7 

114 Charles Ferry, Senr 14 10 11 

115 Wido. Horton 19 2 9 

116 Miles Morgan 10 1 10 

117 Deacn. Jona. Burt 12 6 7 

118 Richard Wait 1 5 .. 

119 Thomas Cooper 18 7 3 

120 John Crowfoot 3 8 .. 

121 Nathaniel Bliss, Senr. ... 9 8 10 

122 Samuel Ball 12 4 . . 

123 Nathaniel Burt, Senr. ... 23 4 

124 James Taylor, Senr 6 7 3 

125 Ephraim Colton, Senr. . . 15 10 8 

A list of the lotts of the outward commons on the east side of 
the great river in Springfield, are as follows, Viz. third division :- 

No. Rods Ft. In. 

1 Thomas Taylor 1 10 3 

2 David Throw 1 5 

3 Jonathan Morgan 5 10 1 

4WidowBeamen 8 12 . . 

6 Obadiah Cooley, Senr. .. 20 5 8 

6 Joseph Thomas 9 5 2 

7 Japhet Chapin 23 2 1 

8 Benjamin Stebbins, Senr. 5 4 10 

9 John Warner 11 1 7 

10 Nathaniel Munn 3 8 10 

11 Thomas Cooper 18 7 3 

12 Victory Sikes 1 11 1 

13 Wm. Brooks 8 9 

14 John Crowfoot 3 8 .. 

15 Rev. Mr. Glover 21 8 9 

16 Samuel Jones 3 13 . . 

17 V. Abel Wright 16 14 4 

18 John Scott 7 9 7 

19 Miles Morgan 10 1 10 

20 Joseph Cooley 5 14 6 

2i Jonathan Taylor's Estate 5 11 

22 John Norton 8 3 8 

23 Thomas Gilbert 5 8 4 

24 Deacon Burt 12 6 7 

25 Ebenezer Jones 6 7 10 

26 Joseph Bedortha 9 6 .. 

27 Nathaniel Pritohard. .. . 8 1 11 

28 Edward Stebbins 5 4 5 

29 Jonathan Ashley. 14 11 4 

30 Ensn. Cooley 's Estate... 6 9 10 

31 Joseph Marks 1 5 

32 Benjamin Cooley 7 3 6 

33 Thomas Swetman 2 10 

34 James Osbum 2 5 2 

35 John Bliss 18 9 .. 

36 Joseph Stebbins 15 12 

37 Obadiah Miller, Senr 8 8 9 

No. Rods Ft. 

38 Lazarus Miller 2 6 

39 Samuel Ely, Senr 11 7 

40 John Stewart 7 7 

41 Widow Bedortha 4 3 

42 Samuel Ball 12 4 

43 Samuel Marshfield 18 2 

44 John Lamb 17 10 

45 Samuel Terry 9 6 

46 Thomas Merrick, Senr. . . 18 15 

47 John Harmon ■. . . 9 13 

48 Joseph Ashley 14 li 

49 Increase Sikes, Senr 10 8 

50 John Barber li 

61 L'. Hitchcock 22 2 

52 Peter Swink 3 13 

53 Samuel Bliss 3d 2 14 

54 Nicholas Rust 7 . . 

55 Samuel Miller 5 7 

56 Charles Ferry, Senr 14 10 

57 David Morgan 9 13 

58 Isaac Morgan 13 

59 Benjamin Knowlton. ... 5 11 

60 James Dorchester, Senr. . 12 11 

61 Philip Mattoon 5 11 

62 John Keep's Estate 6 5 

63 Widow Horton 19 2 

64 Ministry Lott 37 4 

65 Joseph Ely 11 5 

66 Nathaniel Sikes, Senr. ... 4 

67 David Lumbard 8 1 

68 Thomas Day, Senr 16 3 

69 James Stephenson i 4 

70 James Patty 4 6 

71 Capt. Thomas Colton. . . 10 13 

72 John Clark's Estate 6 11 

73 Isaac Colton 13 3 

74 John Leonard 14 8 













The Histohy of Wilbraham 


No. Rods 

75 John Dorchester 22 

76 James Taylor, Senr 6 

77 John Withers 1 

78 Eliakim Cooley 11 

79 Widow Riley 4 

80 Henry Rogers 9 

81 Col. Pynchon 133 

82 Samuel Bedortha 4 

83 Thomas Miller 8 

84 Daniel'Cooley. . . . ^ 13 

85 John Baggs Children .... 6 

86 Samuel Osbum 1 

87 George Colton 25 

88 Henry Gilbert... 4 

89 John Miller 4 

90 Dea. Benj. Parsons 6 

91 Edward Foster 9 

92 Nathaniel Burt, Sjnr. ... 23 

93 Sergt. Hitchcock 10 

94 Thomas Jones 1 

95 Nathaniel Bliss 9 

96 John Burt, Senr 5 

97 Richard Wait 1 

98 Widow Sikes 9 

99 James Munn 1 

100 Jonathan Ball 11 









































































Bods Ft. In. 

I Samuel Owen 9 6 11 

! Josiah Leonard 10 10 7 

i Samuel Stebbins 9 11 9 

I Samuel Bliss Senr IS 3 9 

> Abel Leonard ^ 6 3 9 

> James Barker ' 5 4 

' Widow Parsons 10 6 8 

! Thomas Stebbins 5 10 6 

) James Warriner, Senr ... 20 8 

I Ephraim Colton, Senr. . . 15 10 8 

. Benjamin Leonard 10 13 3 

! Henry Chapin 19 14 .. 

1 Goodwife Foster'.s Estate 5 8 1 

: School Lott 18 9 

i Widow Mimn 2 10 

i Samuel Bliss, Junr 10 14 

' Daniel Beamon 1 5 

\ Jonathan Burt, Junr 5 13 7 

I Mr. Holyoke 26 4 

I Rowland Thomas 12 6 7 

. John Colton 1 5 

! John Clark 2 13 11 

[ Joseph Crowfoot's Estate 7 14 

1 John Dumbleton 11 4 3 

i Obadiah Miller, Junr 2 5 3 

On "Nov. 7th 1693 Colon^' John Pynchon Esq^ M^ Pelatiah 
Glover En^ Joseph Stebbins Sen. David Morgan & Jehojadah 
Bartlett went to the Eastward End of the Town bounds to 
measured the four miles Granted by the Town in Proportion 
according to the Proprietors Estates, as it was Stated in Mar. 
Ano: Dom: 1685." 

(Their report is especially interesting because of the names 
used to describe certain localities. The report goes on to say) : 

"And we Came to the Stated Pine tree over Twelve mil Brooke: 
on the Easterly Side of s"* Brooke w'^'' tree was marked with 
S. P. for Springfield bounds when first said bounds were laid 
out as our Most Easterly bounds, & found the line or Rang of 
Trees y' Run North & South there at Our Easterly End, & 
finding s"* Pine tree which was Marked of old S. P. to be much 
burnt & decayed, tho S. P. was fairly to be seen & left unbumt 
when as a gr' Part of the Tree both below & above the mark was 
burnt, & s"* tree like to decay, we therefore (haveing a Compas 
to direct us) Tooke y^ former & first line at the Easterly end 
s"* bounds w'^'' was North «& South & came to another pine tree 
about twenty rods more Northerly (in s'^ Line) which was as 
formerly marked at the first Lajdng out of our bounds, & had 
the Surveiors marke set on Each side of that Tree, which 
Tree being a fair & fresh pine Tree, & from the first markt there, 
we gathered to it some few stones — & fro Whence we Set to 
worke to measure of four miles towards the Town from this o"' 

16 The History of Wilbraham 

most Easterly, bounds, marking Trees as we went." (I have 
abbreviated the report from this point, but have kept the names 
and description of localities.) "Coming on West and measuring 
One Mile we marked a white oake tree on the hill side which is 
on y^ easterly side of y= Brooke commonly called Eleven Mile 
Brooke, said tree being towards the Northerly end of s"* hil. 
Thence coming Still on west marked trees till we came to 
Manchonish pond and marked a white oake tree close to 
northerly end of it, being two miles west of our most easterly 
bounds, and about 20 rods south of the north end of Pond, 
We estimated the width of the pond there at about 60 rods and 
measured on west to the rising near the gutter to a tree which 
made three miles. Going on thence west marked trees for the 
4th mile which led us to the North end of Stony Hill, where 
Rosin was first made by Cap' Germon by Chickupi River, then 
westerly over s^ hil a little towards the northerly end of it & 
throw those Pine Trees used for Rosin to the Pondy Low Land 
westerly, and a little over that Low or Pondy Land our four 
miles were Compleated. We marked 2 pine trees standing close 
together about 30 rods southerly of Chickupi River. The said 
4 miles being Compleated a little on this Side the place where 
Cap' Germon made Rosin." 

This survey or measurement, while it was doubtless made in 
a straight line, as laid out by the compass, seems to have been 
very near the Old Bay Path, and it mentions names of localities 
with which we are to-day familiar. We know that Five Mile 
Pond, Eight Mile Gutter, Nine Mile Pond, were given those 
names because they are about that distance from Springfield. 
But the name, "Twelve Mile Brook," as applied to the stream 
running into Chicopee River, where the river comes down from 
the north and makes almost a square turn to the west, has 
always seemed to me to be out of place. But I am glad to 
learn that it had in those early days the more appropriate 
name of Eleven Mile Brook and that Twelve Mile Brook is 
about where it ought to be, a mile further to the eastward, and 
about twelve mileis from Springfield. It is also very near the 
eastern border of our town. I have also fotmd those names 
applied to those' streams in the early records of alterations and 
changes made in the Old Bay Road. It is interesting to know 
that our Nine Mile Pond was once called Manchonish Pond, 

The History of Wilbhaham 17 

probably named for some Indian, and that, previous to 1698, 
rosin was made at the north end of Stony Hill, very near the 
place where the electric railway now passes over the tracks of 
the Boston and Albany Railroad. 

On April 1, 1717, a coinmittee was chosen to fix the line 
between the Inward and Outward Commons. I have not 
foimd any record of a survey until that of Roger Newbury 
in 1729. 

The following is a copy of Mr. Roger Newbiory's survey as I 
have found it in the records of Hampden County in the Registry 
of Deeds. 

Page 2, Second Section, Records of Outward Commons : 

"To Col" John Pynchon, L* WUl" Pynchon M"' Glover and 
M'' Parsons (Comtee for the Prop" of Springfield Eastern 
Outward Commons. 

"Gen'n According to and in pursuance of the Instructions 
delivered to me from you With Respect to the finding out the 
length of your s"* Commons and dividing them into three equal 
parts I have with my Utmost Care and according to the best of 
my skill measured s^ land and divided it as foUoweth, Viz; on 
the 20th & 22nd days of May last I began at the Northwest 
Comer of s"* Outward Copunons at a Stake and heap of stones 
which according to the best light and Knowledge that I could 
anyways gain was the end of the four miles measured out for 
s* Outward Commons by Mr. John Chandler Jun' and from 
s"* Monumn' I run a due South line and measured down to 
Enfield bounds and found that there was twelve miles and one 
hundred and fifteen rods, which being divided into three Equal 
parts Each part or division wiU Contain four miles and thirty 
Eight rods and five feet and one half and at the Northwest 
Comer of the Upper Division by the Stake and heap of stones 
from whence we first set out we dug a Ditch East and South, 
And Another at the Northwest Comer of the Second Division 
in a low plain North of the west End of a certain Hill about 
half a mile North of Chickabee River, and another Ditch at the 
Northwest Comer of the third or last division at the South 
End of a little Marsh South of Worlds end Brook and another 
Ditch at the Southend of the s^ outward Commons Next to 
Enfield s"* ditch runs North and East. 

Dat. at Springfield June 4th 1729 
by Roger Newbury Surveyor." 

18 The History of Wilbbaham 

"June y^23: 1729 
"At a Meeting of the Proprietors of the Outward Commons 
on the East Side of the Great River in Springfield W™ Pynchon 
Moderator Voted an acceptance of the within Return of M' 
Roger Newbury Surveyor, and that the within Monuments 
made by the s"* Newbury shall be the Standing Monuments 
for y^ three Division of y= s^ Outward Commons." 

Also at a meeting held March 27, 1738, it was voted to accept 
the Newbury survey. 

A few years ago I discovered a depression in the ground, in a 
piece of woodland south of "World's End Brook," (now Pole 
Bridge Brook), which seemed to me at the time, to have been 
made artificially. The place is in the woodland, about 40 to 60 
rods south of the Tinkham Road, and about 60 to 90 rods west 
of West Street, very near the east side of the woodlot, and it 
may be the same ditch which Surveyor Newbury had dug, to 
fix the northwest comer of the third division. I have been 
informed by Mortimer Pease of Hampden, that there is a some- 
what similar ditch in, or near, the meadow, about 70 to 100 rods 
westerly of where the main road to Somers crosses the Scantic 
in that toAvn. The Connecticut line, in those ancient days, was 
supposed to be about one mile north of where it now is. If 
these ditches are the bounds established by surveyor Newbury, 
they should be one-half mile east of the present west bounds of 
the two towns. They must be very near that. 

So far as I have found, Newbury's survey only fixed the west 
bounds of the Outward Commons. 

The land in the Outward Commons was divided into three 
divisions, and a lot in each division allotted to each one of the 
125 original proprietors, in 1685, but it was forty-one years before 
the lots were definitely fixed, and established on the ground 
itself. The report of the laying out of the lots on the east side of 
the river, seems to be included in the records of the laying out 
of the lots on the west side. 

On April 12, 1726, a committee, consisting of Joseph Miller, 
Henry Rogers and Frances Ball reported as follows: (I have 
only copied what seems to relate to the east side.) 

The History of Wilbbaham 19 

" Accordingly we have measured out allottments proportion- 
able to Each Originall lott on y^ East side of y= River and 
headed y= Same on y' East End of Each allotment with Suffi- 
cient bound stones or other Sufficient monuments fairly marked 
with y^ Ntimber of Each lott agreable to y* list by w'='' the s'' 
lotts were drawn as appears upon Record and by which the 
particular lotts may be known in time to come. Viz. in y=- 
Eastward Teer or range y* monuments are Set at y^ South East 
Comer — ^but in y* Middle Range they are set on y'= North East 
Corner of y= lotts and y= marks are all facing to the breadth 
of y= lotts." 

Such was the division made of the land; and the vote of the 
town of Springfield, by which this distribution of the territory 
of this town was made among those early proprietors, consti- 
tutes the original legal title which the present occupants have 
to the soil. 

It was about ninety-four years after the first settlers reached 
Springfield, before any attempt was made to start a settlement 
in the Outward Commons. The appearance of the land was 
not attractive. Nearly the whole territory, called by the 
Indians Minnechaug, "Berry land," had been so devastated by 
fires, that in many places there were no forest trees — and in 
other portions hardly any shrubbery gtew. The low, swampy 
grounds and swales afforded a coarse grass which was mowed 
and cured for the support of cattle during the winter season, 
and the hills furnished pasturage during the summer. The 
tradition is handed down to us, from those early days, that the 
country was so bare in many places that a deer could be seen 
from mountain to mountain. Game was very abundant, and 
continued to be till long after the settlement of the town. 
Deer filled the pastures and the woods; wild turkeys ran in 
flocks over the fields and hills; the ponds were covered with 
ducks, and the squirrels on the trees, filled the air with their 
barking. Muskrats swarmed upon the banks^of the streams 
and beavers built their dams on Pole Bridge Brook. 

About half a mile north of the centre ofj^otur Centre Village, 
there is a cart path running off westerly from our Main Street, 
on the farm of the late John W. Bliss, now owned by his 

20 The History of Wilbhaham 

daughter, Mrs. Gillet, and about one-third of a mile from 
Main Street the path crosses a narrow strip of swampy land on 
ground that has evidently been filled in at some time. It used 
to be said that the beavers did it, and within my recollection 
the place was called " Beaver Dam." Shad were in the streams 
in springtime, and salmon, weighing from seven to twelve 
pounds, came up the Chicopee River as far as Eleven Mile 
Brook — now frequently called Twelve Mile Brook — where 
they were caught in great abundance with seines. 

Beasts of prey were not abundant, but sometimes bears made 
their appearance and feasted on the unripe com, much to the 
annoyance of the planter and the terror of his children. It was 
not uncommon for devout aunts to still the restlessness of the 
children, who were left in their care, both on Sundays and on 
other days, when their pranks were annoying, by telling them 
that the bears would hear them and come and carry them away 
into the woods and devour them. And I think it safe to say 
that some who take part in this anniversary may have been 
told that story. Not many Indians inhabited this territory at 
. that time. The Stebbins History says but one. But I have 
learned from two independent sources, that a family, or several 
Indians, lived about a half mile west of our West Street, and 
about midway between our Springfield Street and the Peggy's 
Dipping Hole Road, at a place still known as Indian Rock, 
(there is a lane or cart path, ruiming north and south, now con- 
necting those two roads), and that some of those Indians fre- 
quently came over into the village, to Charles Brewer's tavern, 
to procure supplies, and possibly some of the white man's fire- 

Dr. Merrick says in his address, delivered here in May, 1831, 
"I have been told by the first settlers that when they were boys, 
the place was covered with them," (Indians) "but I have no 
idea that they were ever by any means so populous as we are." 
Still, there must have been a large number of Indians here at 
some time, or they must have dwelt here for a long time. The 
thousands of stone implements, spears, arrow heads, axes, hoes, 
hatchets and soapstone dishes which have been found in these 

The History of Wilbeaham 21 

fields, and many which must still remain, will substantiate that 
statement. One Indian squaw lived alone in her wigwam by a 
little brook, some fifty or eighty rods southeasterly of the 
present residence of Mr. BoUes, and that fact gave the name 
to "Wigwam Hill," on which his house stands, and where the 
first meeting-house and parsonage were erected. I have 
gathered from the traditions of the first minister's family, that 
her name was We-sha-u-gan, and that she was sometimes 
invited to take dinner with the minister's family, and that once 
she invited them to come and have dinner with her. Before 
accepting the invitation, the minister's wife felt a little anxiety 
to know what she intended to have for dinner. She approached 
the subject in a round-about way, and the Indian woman told 
her she had caught a nice fat skunk for roasting, and she wished 
them to taste the cooking of Weshaugan. To partake of such 
a dinner was, of course, out of the question. But Mrs. Merrick 
did not wish to hurt the old squaw's feelings, and so she told her, 
in as kindly a way as she could, that while it was perfectly 
proper for the Indian woman to eat at the minister's table, 
his position would not permit him to eat at hers. Doubt- 
less the disappointed woman went down to her wigwam, by 
. the little rivulet, wondering at the strange fancies of white 

In his History Dr. Stebbins says qf her: "Alone, the last of 
that mysterious race who had chased the deer over these fields, 
trapped the beaver in these streams, speared the salmon in 
these rivers, enjoyed the freedom of these hills, kindled their 
evening fires by these springs, and, as they smoked their pipe, 
beheld the western sky lighting up when the sun went down, as 
if with the smile of the Great Spirit and of the heroes who had 
fallen in battle, and buried their kindred under these trees, she 
lived solitary, the curiosity of the early settlers, harmless, quiet, 
meditative, seldom entering any dwelling, and providing for 
her own wants. At last even she disappeared. Of the manner 
of her death, or of her burial-place, no man knoweth. She 
passed away, as a shadow of the vanished race, ' the himter and 
the deer a shade,' in the land of the sunset, beyond the western 

22 The History of Wilbbaham 

hills which she had so often seen empurpled at eventide." A 
poem, entitled "Minneola," published in 1905, represents that 
ancient woman, realizing "that the morning will soon dawn 
when she will not see its sunrise," telling the story of her people 
to a white hunter who had given her some game, and telling 
him how, when the others of her tribe had trailed away towards 
the sunset, she had remained here, to care for her blind and 
helpless father. And the author closes the story with this 
tribute to the old Indian squaw. 

Weshaugan! Weshaugan! 
Thrice a thousand moons have risen 

Since you heard the voice of duty 
Sounding in your heart from heaven ; 

Since you stifled love and longing. 
Since you slew desire, ambition. 

To become a household angel 
Unto one of earth's afflicted; 

And the action is recorded. 
" When the seals of time are broken, 

And the Great Book lies wide open. 
And the deeds of earth are spoken. 

We may hear the Herald calling, 
' ' Come up higher ! Come up higher ! 

Weshaugan ! Weshaugan ! ' ' 

When I was a child, my great-aunt [Mrs. Gideon Kibbe], 
told me an experience of her mother [perhaps her grandmother], 
when she was a child of about eight or ten years of age, probably 
about 1740, or 1750. She was riding on a sled with her father, 
mother and other children near the close of a winter day, and 
they saw, a short distance in front, three Indians come out of 
the woods and stop in the road. The hearts of the children 
sank down into their little shoes as they cowered under the 
blankets, but the father drove right on to where the Indians 
were standing in the snow by the side of the road, and each was 
holding out his hand saying, "tobac," "tobac," "tobac." In 
a sermon some thirty years ago, our Pastor said, "Tobacco is 
good — to kill flies." [We have the same Pastor now.] 

The History of Wilbbaham 


An account of the occupation of this territory by the Indians 
would be incomplete without mentioning the soapstone dishes, 
and fragments of dishes, which have been found in considerable 
numbers, and for a long time, in the eastern part of our 

About ten years ago, the place where those dishes were made 
was discovered. It is about a mile, perhaps a little more, 
northerly of the Glendale Meeting-House, and about one-fourth 

From which the Indians made soapstone dishes. 

of a mile easterly of the East road, or street, and just beyond a 
little brook running southerly through the swampy land there. 
The dishes were evidently made from some soapstone botdders, 
probably deposited in the glacial period, and the tools were 
pieces of trap-rock, probably procured from the Holyoke range 
of mountains. It must have been a slow, tedious process, which 
we cannot very well understand, any more than we can teU how 
those strange people made the arrow and spear heads 'which 
besprinkle our fields. About 1890, there were discovered, on 

24 The History of Wilbraham 

the top of the first hill, at the north edge of our center village, 
near the present home of Wm. H. McGuire, and about ten or 
fifteen rods west of our Main Street, three Indian fireplaces, in 
a triangular position, about twenty feet apart. They were 
made of stones, none larger than a person's head, laid together, 
so as to form a circular wall, leaving a space in the center about 
twenty inches across, and about eight or ten inches deep. 
Two of them had been disturbed by the farmers' plows, but one 
was enough below the present surface of the ground so that it 
had not been injured. It was well filled with the ashes of many 
fires, and the soil within the others was blackened by the same 
cause. There are other places in town, which, when plowed, 
show where similar fires have burned, "When the smoke from 
many wigwams, Oft ascended at the sunset." 

But the control, or occupation of this territory by the red 
men was practically ended. The land in the Outward Com- 
mons had been allotted to the 125 proprietors of Springfield in 
the year 1684-85, and each proprietor's portion had been defi- 
nitely fixed by the survey of 1726. In this measurement of 
the width of the lots, the surveyors only allowed sixteen feet 
to the rod. Probably fearing that in measuring off 125 lots 
they might gain on the actual distance. The survey of Roger 
Newbury in 1729 fixed the western bounds. There was nothing 
to hinder the enterprising from entering in and taking posses- 
sion of the Outward Commons of Springfield. 

In the year 1727 Nathaniel Hitchcock purchased part of the 
lots drawn by John Hitchcock, No. 69 in 2nd Division, and 
No. 51 in 3rd Division. In 1728 Nathaniel Warriner purchased 
the lots in each Division drawn by Thomas Cooper, which are 
No. 119 in 2nd Division and No. 11 in 3rd. Each lot 18 rods, 
7 feet, 3 inches wide. Also the J^ part of Thomas Merrick's 3 
allotments, which are No. 106 in 2nd Division and No. 46 in 
the 3rd- The 3^ part of each lot would be 4 rods, 11 feet, 11 
inches wide. Also the 3^ part of the lots drawn by Thomas 
Swetman, which are No. 62 in 2nd Division and No. 33 in the 
3rd. The 3^ part of each lot would be 1 rod, 5 feet wide. 

In 1744 Moses Warriner, brother of Nathaniel, purchased 

The Histoby of Wilbraham 


lots Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18 in the 3rd Division. The entire 
width of the four lots would be 49 rods, 13 feet, 8 inches, which 
woiold make about 399 acres. But as each rod in the width of 
the lot was 6 inches short, we must deduct about 12 acres. 

In 1737 Samuel Warner purchased the easterly part of lots 
Nos. 99, 100, 102, 105, in the 2nd Division, "Extending westerly 


SO far as to the top of the Mountain to a small Gutter Running 
across said Lots Whereabouts there is a Highway Proposed to 
be laid out." At another time he purchased "J/^ of the width 
of the lot granted to Widow Riley." (It is lot No. 101.) 

In 1728 and the ten years following, David Mirick purchased 
lots Nos. 99, 100, Vi of 101, H of 104, M of 105, 106, 107, 108, 

26 The History of Wilbkaham 

109, 120. Also Nos; 12, % of No. 28, }i of' No. 65 in the 2nd 
Division, and f of No. 4, Nos. 8, 9, 12, 14, 43, 44, and }i of 
No. 48, in the 3rd Division. 

In the summer of 1730, one hundred and eighty-three years 
ago, Nathaniel Hitchcock came out from Springfield Street, and 
cleared and broke up two acres of ground, and erected a log 
hut on the west side of our present Main Street, and about one- 
half mile south of our center village. 

After sowing his two acres with wheat, Hitchcock returned to 
Springfield Street to spend the winter and make the few prepara- 
tions which were necessary to remove his wife, whom he had 
married that year, to his hut by the "Mountains." In the 
following spring, May, 1731, he came out with his wife to his 
narrow field and low hut, and resided here a full year, with no 
neighbors nearer than Springfield Street, nine miles away. He 
planted his crops, mowed his grass, dried and stacked his hay, 
husked and stored his com under the roof of his cabin, gathered 
his wheat; "and when the long, dark, stormy winter evenings 
came, he was .solaced with the music of his wife's song, and the 
voice of his child, and the crackling of the fire in his great open 
fireplace." "At last the spring opened, and not only the robins 
and the bluebirds returned, but what was better for him and for 
Hannah, his wife, Noah Alvord came and settled on the east 
side of the street," about 40 rods to the south, where Mr. 
„ Calkins lives now. 

•v The report of the land was good; and the next year, 1733, 
Daniel Warner came and settled on the east side of the street, 
five or six rods north of the lane, which, when I was a boy, used 
to be called Federal Lane. The place is now owned by 
Mrs. Mary (Howard) Green. And the next year, 1734, Mr. 
Nathaniel Warriner, afterwards a prominent citizen, the donor 
of the ministry and school-fund, located on the west side of 
the street, about 20 rods north of Hitchcock, at the house 
recently sold by Mr. and Mrs. Martin to Thomas H. Nims. 

"Of these four earliest settlers no descendant remained in 
town in 1863. Nathaniel Warriner had no children. Of Noah 
Alvord's four children, none had children, and the descendants 

The History of Wilbraham 27 

of Nathaniel Hitchcock and of Daniel Warner all left the town 
years ago." It is possible that some other settlers may have 
come before 1734. Moses Burt, an industrious weaver and 
reed-maker, purchased the land where the stone house is, in <^ 

1733. Samuel Warner, and his father Ebenezer, settled on 
the west side of main street, where my home now is, in 1733 
or 1734. I have not found that Samuel Warner was ever 
elected Precinct or Town Clerk, but he kept the record of 
births and deaths in the " East or fourth Precinct of Spring- 
field" for almost fifty years. The record is still in existence. 
The first entry was made "March y= IS"- 1734," the last, 
August 28, 1783. For forty-nine years and five months, the 
faithful "Clark," as he was called, performed his labor of 
love, and 12 days after the last entry, he laid down his pen 

The Town Clerk at that time, Mr. James Warriner, made 
the following entry, which closes the record which Samuel 
Warner had kept for so many years. "Samuel Warner Who 
had the title of a Clark Dyed 10th day of September 1783, at 
Hancock: 70: miles from home, at his Daughter Rhoda'^ for 
a visit, near the warm pool, and was brought home to be buried 
by his Desire, when he lay upon his Dying bed — ^aged 75 years, 
wanting one month 4 days." 

About 1734, Samuel Stebbias settled on the first road leading 
up the mountain, north of our present south boundary, on the 
easterly side of Main Street. This road runs easterly for about 
one-third of a mUe, then turns and runs nearly due south for 
perhaps one-fourth of a mile, then turns easterly, and continues 
on up the motmtain to the ridge road, to what is now known 
as the Burleigh place. 

Samuel Stebbins built his house near where the road turns 
from its southerly to the easterly course, probably a little 
south of what was the Foskit place a few years ago; where 
Mr. Richards lived fifty years ago. I find it very tmsatisfactory 
to locate places where "somebody lives now." It will answer 
very well for to-day, but fifty years hence it will not be very 






^ d%u^^--^ "^^ "^-V^ ,«4^«^ /^^*-*^ 



^y/y"^ ,^pA^st/^w 

-*'4//^5'^^ ^;^ ^t^sjCL 


The History of Wilbhaham 29 

definite. I intend to call this road, for its entire length, on both 
sides of otir Main Street, Stebbins Road, in remembrance of 
this first settler in that locality. Nathaniel Bliss soon settled 
on the east side of this road, a little north of Stebbins, where 
Mr. Powers now lives, and a little later Philip Lyon located a 
little north of Mr. Bliss, where Mr. Lines lives now. 

I think there have never been any other places settled on that 
road, east of Main Street. David Merrick built his house on the 
west side of Main Street, near the brook which crosses the 
street, which I will call Merrick Brook. There he, and his 
descendants, lived for about one hundred and sixty years, until 
about twenty years ago, when the place was sold to Mr. M. C. 
Wade who lives- there now. Abel Bliss located on the Ridge 
Road about twenty or thirty rods south of where the Old Bay 
Road branched off to the eastward. Daniel Lamb, on the Bay 
Road in the northwest part of the Outward Commons ; Thomas 
Merrick, father of the young man Htten by a rattlesnake, 
immortalized in song, on the east side of Main Street, about 
twenty or thirty rods north of the present south boundary of 
our town, where Mr. Walter Bliss lives. David Warriner on the 
west side of Main, and the south side of Faculty Streets, about 
where the north end of the Academy Boarding House is. 
Isaac Brewer on the west side of Main Street, eight or ten rods 
south of Springfield Street. He and his descendants occupied 
the place for more than one hundred and sixty years until 1898, 
when it was sold to Mrs. Gumey, who lives there now. Moses 
Bartlett on the Ridge Road, near where the present highway, 
which leads off from the Main Street, just south of the Stone 
Church, enters that road, and about where the old stone 
chimney is now standing. I desire to name this road, which 
leads up the mountain at this point, "Waukegan's Trail," in 
remembrance of those earlier inhabitants who have lived, and 
loved, and died here. (A story of those ancient people in this 
vicinity, written a few years ago, represents their pioneer, 
" Waukegan," as having come down the mountain at that place.) 
David Chapin settled over the mountain near the present 
Ridge Road. So far as I have learned there were no set- 


30 The History of Wilbraham 

tiers in the south part of the Outward Commons previous to 
1741. "Few and scattered as the inhabitants were, they were 
not indifferent to the education of their children. As early as 
1737 the town of Springfield appropriated three pounds for the 
support of a school in the "outward commons on the east side." 
The Stebbins History says, "there were then, as nearly as I 
can ascertain, but eleven families." The same amount was 
appropriated the following year. "In 1739, the sum was 
increased to four pounds, and in 1740 to six pounds." "The 
Testament was the text-book in schools, as well as the orade in 
the church. Dilworth's spelling-book was the guide in spell- 
ing." Of geography nothing was taught; of arithmetic but 
little. Writing received more attention, but the means of 
education were very scant at the best. During the first ten 
years, 1731 to January 1, 1741, there were thirty-eight children 
bom. The first one recorded is "Comfort Warner, daughter of 
Daniel Warner and Jerusha Warner, his wife, was bom Mar. 
15, 1734." The first death recorded is that of "David Jones, 
son of David and Hannah Jones died Aug. 19, 1736. Burried 
at Springfield." Dr. Merrick says in his "address, that the 
father did not want his child to be the first tenant of the 
Bur5dng Ground. Two other deaths occurred before 1741, and 
both were interred at Springfield. The first tenant of the 
Burying Ground, now called Deacon Adams Cemetery, was 
"Widow Elizabeth Cockril who Dyed Apr. 26th 1741. She was 
the first person y' was Bured in y^ mountains." Dr. Merrick 
says of this incident: "In April 1741, Elizabeth Cockrel of 
Boston on a visit to her sister, who was Samuel Warner's wife, 
sickened and died here. Mr. Warner buried her here, and 
though he was not a stone man (stone cutter) he got two flat 
stones and engraved her name, the time of her death, and 
that it was the first grave. Though I knew of the stones, 
they were so covered with moss that they could not be read. 
I got the moss scraped off and pointed (?) so that now it is 

The stones are in the southeast quarter of the old burying 
ground, and are lettered as follows: 

The History of Wilbbaham 


E. C. 


the FI 

rST 1 






Lys the 


oF ELisAb 

eth Coc k ril Wo 

Dyed ApHL y'' 26 


EAG 39 

"Those early pioneers were hardy and industrious, and 
prosperity, such as they sought, as bounteous as they expected, 
was their reward; and eminently was fulfilled to every house- 
holder the promise of the Psalmist, 'Thy wife shall be as a 
fruitful vine by the sides of thine house; thy children like olive- 
plants round about thy table.' 

"Such was the condition of the settlement in the 'outward 
commons' at the close of ten years. .Twenty-four families, or 
twenty-six, scattered over a territory of about four miles square, 
possessing only the barest comforts of life, include all the popu- 
lation. Most of .their houses were probably framed, the saw- 
mill at Sixteen Acres supplying sawed lumber, but they were 
poorly finished, scantily glazed, and meagerly furnished, and 
rarely even plastered. Their fields were still narrow, and but 
insecurely fenced. The wild animals shared their scant harvest. 
They were far from store and mill. They had no roads for 
wheel-carriages, nor any conveyances of this kind, even if there 
had been roads. 

32 The History of Wilbraham 

"They were religious men and women ; and the way was long 
and difficult to the first parish meeting-house. The sun smote 
them in summer, snow and ice blocked their path in winter. 
When the Sunday morning came, some on horseback, their 
wives on the pillions behind, and the baby on the pommel before, 
and some on foot, started in the early morning for the meeting- 
house, nine miles away, by way of Pole Bridge Brook, over 
Stony Hill, along the Usquaick, or Mill River, at Sixteen Acres, 
and entering the Bay Road near Goose Pond" (now Win- 
chester Park). "The young men and maidens, for reasons 
easily divined, preferred to walk even when there was no neces- 
sity; and it is reported, not slanderously it is to be presumed, 
that the way seemed all too short to Zion, and all the more lovely 
because so few went up to her solemn feasts." 

On a Sabbath morning in winter, in that long ago, it is told 
how a certain Miss Peggy, clad in her "Sabba day" fixings and 
finery, mounted her horse and started for the distant sanctuary, 
passing along the highway which leads oflE to the westward 
from our West Street about midway between Springfield Street 
and Ludlow village. While crossing a shallow marsh, over 
which the trail led, the thin ice broke under the combined 
weight and the horse, the fixings, the finery, and — Miss Peggy, 
were all dipped in the freezing water. The place has since 
been known as "Peggy's Dipping Hole." The marsh, of 
some four or five acres, was drained about thirty-five years 
ago, and nowadays, in the good old summer time, the clatter of 
the mowing machine is heard, where then the screams of Miss 
Peggy resounded. For, of course, she must have screamed, 
when she saw that all of her fixings and finery were ruined. 

The way to Zion, by way of Springfield, seemed long and 
difficult, and the elders wearied of the way. "The briers were 
sharp, the swamps were miry, the fords insecure, the storms 
were drenching. Their souls longed for the courts of the Lord. 
They had enjoyed the blessing of the preached word in their 
homes on a few occasions, and it was pleasant to their souls. 
They cherished tenderly, yet timidly, the desire to establish the 
'means of grace' in their own settlement." They talked over 
the subject in their families, and when they met by the way. 

The Hii3TOEY of Wilbhaham 33 

"At last, Hitchcock and Warriner and Bliss and Burt and 
Brewer and Stebbins, and the rest, met, we may suppose, at 
Merrick's house, in the midst of winter, and talked the matter 
over, before the great fireplace. They are few, they are poor; 
they are not famous. But they loved the sanctuary and the 
ordinances of religion. They have faith in endeavor. They 
resolve to try the heart of the bretheren in the first parish, at 
Springfield Street, and of Longmeadow, incorporated as a pre- 
cinct in 1713, and see if they would consent to their being 
set off as a separate precinct, and aid their petition to the 
provincial government to that end, so that there may no 
longer be a '.dearth of the word of the Lord' on the 'Moun- 
tains.' " 

Their petition was favorably received by Longmeadow, 
and it was voted, March 10, 1740, that "the outward com- 
mons of Springfield, be set off for the benefit of the gospel 

The first precinct passed a similar vote March 21. The 
"Outward Cojnmoners" take courage, draw up a paper em- 
powering their agents, and certifying to their authority and 
responsibility, and send up their petition, signed in their behalf 
by Thomas Merrick 2d, and Abel Bliss. 

The following is the appointment of "Thomas Merrick 2d 
and Abel Bliss to Prefer a Petition to the General Court to be 
set off as a Precinct." 

"We the Subscribers who are settlers on the Lands Called the 
Outward Commons Dwelling Some in the Second and Some in 
the Third Divisions of the Said Comons In Springfield on the 
East Side of Connecticutt River do Hereby appoint and Im- 
power Thomas Mirick 2d & Abel Bliss Settlers on the said 
Place to Prefer a Petition to the next General Court that we 
with our Lands and theirs together with all the Lands within 
Said Divisions being In the whole in length Eight Miles and in 
weadth four Miles May be Set off a Separate and Distinct 
Precinct and that all the Lands L3dng in said Divisions may be 
taxed at Such Rate as the General Court shall think Proper 
the better to Enable them to Settle a Minister Build a Meeting 

34 The Histoby of Wilbeaham 

House and other Publick charges that so we may be Enabled 
to Maintain the Gospel among us. 
Witness our Hands May 7th 1740. 

Joseph Sikes David Mirick 

Daniel Lamb David Warriner 

Daniel Parsons David Jones 

Benjamin Wright Isaac Brewer 

Henry Wright Samuel Warner 2"* 

Thomas Glover Aaron Parsons 

Cornelius Weeb Nathaniel Hitchcock 

Daniel Warner Nathaniel Warriner 
Moses Bartlett < Nathaniel Bliss 2"* 

Noah Alvord Benjamin Warriner 

Samuel Stebbins Jr. Samuel Bartlit 

David Chapin Jr. Moses Burt." 

"There are twenty-four of these subscribers. Adding the 
names of Thomas Mirick 2"* and Abel Bliss, (committee) signed 
to the Petition, the whole number is twenty-six." These names 
differ from those given in Dr. Merrick's address. The Stebbins 
History says they were copied from the Records of the General 
Court in the office of the Secretary of State. 

The Petition of Thomas Mirick 2"*, and Abel Bliss is as 
follows : 

"To his Excellency Jonathan Belcher Esq. Captain General 

and Govemour in Chief in and over His Majestys Province of 

' the Massachusetts Bay To the hon-oble His Majestys Council 

and House of Representatives in General Court assembled at 

Boston May A. D. 1740." 

"The Petition of Abel Bliss and Thomas Mirick second for 
themselves and the rest of the Inhabitants settled at the 
mountains So called at the east side of the great river in Spring- 
field on the land called the Outward Commons, being the second 
and third divisions of said Commons 

"Htimbly Sheweth that your Pet" live nine mUes from the 
said Town of Springfield, which distance makes it very incon- 
venient for them to attend Publick Worship of God especially, 
in the winter season, that they cant attend the Service and 
Duties of Gods House as they ought, by reason of the badness 

The History of Wilbraham 35 

of the weather, which makes the roads very bad and renders 
them almost impossible to travel in, 

"That the land Ijdng in the Second and Third Divisions of 
the S"* outward commons being in length north and South eight 
miles and east and west four miles are very convenient and 
Commodious for a Precinct which your pet" are very desirous 
of, for the building of a meeting house for the Public worship of 
God in the said Precinct that so they may attend the Dutys 
and Service of God's House seasonably and constantly as they 
ought to do. 

"And your Pet" would suggest to your Excellency and 
Honours That the first Parish and Longmeadow Parish in S'' 
Springfield whereto they belong voted their consent that your 
Pet" should be set off a separate Precinct from the said 

"And therefore your Pet" htimbly pray that your Excellency 
and Honours would be pleased to set them off and also to set 
off all those Lands which lye in the Second and Third Divisions 
of the said outward Commons being in length north and south 
eight miles, and east and west four miles a Separate Precinct, 
and grant unto them all such powers and libertys priviledges 
and Immunitys as other Precincts have and enjoy with and 
under such restrictions and limitations as your Excellency and 
Honours shall deem meet; and that all the lands lying within 
the limits aforesaid may be taxed further to enable your Pet" 
to settle a minister &c for such term of time, and at such rate 
as your Excellency and Honours shall think proper. 

"And your Pet" (as in Duty bound) shall ever pray. 

Thomas Mirick 2"* 
Abel Bliss." 

Thus pathetically and hopefully did they send up their 
prayer to those in authority. 

Their petition was received by the House of Representatives, 
June 26, 1740, and it was "Ordered that the petitioners serve 
the non-resident proprietors of land with a copy of this Petition, 
by posting the same at the town-house in Springfield, and by 
inserting it in one of the Public Newspapers, that they may 
show, cause (if any they have) on the first Tuesday of the next 
session of this Court, why the Prayer thereof should not be 

36 The History of Wilbkaham 

granted." The petition was concurred in by the council, and 
on the next day, June 27, it was consented to by the governor. 

At the next session, January 2, 1741, the petition was taken 
up by the House "and it appearing that the non-resident Pro- 
prietors have been sufficiently notified, but no answer given in, 
Ordered that the Prayers of the Petition be so far granted as 
that the Petitioners Together with all the lands petitioned for 
Ijang southward of the River called Chicuepe River running 
Easterly and Westerly through the said Second Division of said 
Commons be erected into a Separate and distinct Precinct and 
that they be vested with all the Powers liberties Privilidges 
and immunities as other Precincts hold and Enjoy and that all 
the lands Petitioned lying Southward of the River as aforesaid 
be subjected to a tax of two pence old tenor Bills p"' acre p"' 
annum for the space of Four years Next Coming the money 
arising thereby to be applyed for the building of a Meeting house 
Settlement and support of the Ministry among them." This 
Order was concurred in by the council January 5, and was 
consented to on January 6, 1741, by Jonathan Belcher, Gov- 
ernor, and the "Outward Conunbns on the East Side of the 
Great River," or "Mountanes of Springfield," became the 
"fourth precinct of Springfield." 

"There was joy in those households when the success of their 
petition was known, and more than one man called upon his 
neighbor to bless the Lord for his kindness to them. 

"The ax was plied more vigorously, and the winter fires 
burned more cheerily because the ark of the Lord was to be set 
up among them." 

On January 3,_ 1739, Springfield " Granted to y= People of y' 
mountains for y' procuring preaching 10 Sabbaths Twenty 
shillings p"" Sabbath provided they do not exceed Teen Sab- 
baths." On December 12, 1739, and on December 9, 1740, 
twenty shillings per Sabbath were granted for each Sabbath; 
provided they do not exceed twelve Sabbaths, to be paid to 
David Mirick as it becomes due. 

"For three winters, therefore, our fathers were saved the 

The History of Wilbraham 37 

painful jottmey, in cold and snow, of nine miles, to hear preach- 
ing." If there is any record of who preached for them, the 
papers of David Mirick must contain it. (Some of those papers 
are now in the possession of Mrs. Myron Bruuer.) 

The first warrant for a precinct meeting was issued February 
13, 1741, by W"". Pynchon Esq., "one of his Majastes Justeses 
of the Peace for Hampshire Cotinty," to Mr. Nathaniel War- 
riner, "upon application made by Nathaniel Bliss 2^, Sam'' 
Stebbins Junr., Samuel Warner 2^, Noah Alvard and Nathaniel 
Warriner," requiring him "to Notifie the Freeholders and other 
inhabitants of said Precinct Qualified to voat in town affairs, 
that they meet and assemble togeather att the Dwelling House 
of David Mirick in said Precinct on the second Thursday 
[the 12th day] of March next att one o clock afternoon." 

The meeting was held at the place specified, and was organized 
by the choice of "William Pynchon Esq. Moderator. David 
Mirick was chosen Clerk and sworn. Thomas Mirick 2'', 
Isaac Brewer, Nathaniel Warriner, Committee of the Precinct 
for the year ensuing. Isaac Brewer, Treasurer, sworn; David 
Mirick, Thomas Mirick 2^, Samuel Stebbins, chosen Assessors, 
sworn. Nathaniel Warriner, chosen Collector, sworn." Thus 
the precinct was organized, and it is voted, that "the annual 
meeting for the choice of precinct officers shall be y' second 
Wednesday of March annually." 

Six different meetings are held before the first day of June, 
to agree upon a minister and arrange his settlement and salary; 
for it was customary at that time to pay a considerable stun to 
a minister, at the commencement of his ministry, called a 
"settlement," in addition to his annual salary. At the first 
meeting, held at the dwelling-liouse of Isaac Brewer, March 25, 
1741, called, among other things, to see "wheather they will 
give the worthy Mr. Noah Mirick a call in order to settle in the 
work of the ministry in case they have the advice of the neigh- 
boring ministers," they chose Joseph- Wright and Daniel 
Warner a committee "to make application to three neighboring 
ministers in behalf of said precinct for advice who to settle in 
the work of the ministry," and pending the procurement of this 

38 The Histoby of Wilbhaham 

advice they voted "to hier Mr. Noah Mirick to Preach the 
word of God to them three Sabbaths beginning the first Sabbath 
in April next ensuing." Mr. Mirick had been preaching to 
them previously, as appears by subsequent votes, and had 
preached in aU twenty Stindays before his ordination. 

They also direct their committee to "further pursue and 
execute a Deed that is Given of the Land called the Overplus 
Land given to the first settled Orthodox minister of this Pre- 
cinct." This overplus land, it will be remembered, consisted 
of two lots four miles long from east to west, the one on the 
south side of the Second Division being eighty-two rods wide, 
and the only one probably which was deeded to the first 
minister, the one on the south side of the third Division being 
sixty- two rods wide. This land was owned by the heirs of the 
one hundred and twenty-five original proprietors. Phineas 
Chapin and Samuel Warner, the committee, have no small 
labor committed to them to hunt up these heirs and obtain 
their signatures to the deed of conveyance. 

The following is a copy of the Deed of the overplus land of 
the second division in the Outward Commons. Recorded in 
Book U, page 96, Registry of Deeds, Hampden County. 

"To all People to whom These presents shall come Greeting. 
Whereas There is a Tract of Land lying and being in the Town- 
ship of Springfield in the County of Hampshire and province 
of the Massachusetts Bay in new England In the second or 
Middle Division of the outward Commons so Called on the 
East side of Connecticut River being in length about four 
Miles and in Breadth about Sixty rods lying on the Sowarly 
side of the said Middle Division and adjoyning to the third or 
lower Division of said Commons Called overplus land which 
has not as yet been Divided and alloted to the Proprietors or 
owners of the Same but lyes Common. And Whereas there is 
about or Near Twenty Families already settled on the said 
Commons southward of Chickabee River, and tis probable 
that in some short time they may be set off a separate and 
Distinct Precinct. And in Order to Encourage the same 
and Especially for the Encouragement of the first settled and 
Orthodox Minister there when they shall be set off a Precinct. 
We the Subscribers whose hands and seals are hereto affixed 

The History of Wilbraham 


some of the owners and Proprietors of the Said Tract of Land 
called overplus land as aforesaid being in Breadth about Sixty 
rods as aforesaid and in Length Pour Miles. For the Encour- 
agement of the First Minister of the Gospel that shaU be 
Ordained and Settled at the said place when they shall be set 
of a seperate and Distinct Precinct. Do hereby Give Grant 
Pass over Convey & Confirm to the First Orthodox Ordained 
Minister of the Gospel that shall be there Ordained and Settled 
among the People of that place all such Right Estate Title 
Interest proportion and Dividend of Land whatsoever which 
we and Each of us Have of in and to the said overplus Land 
Described as aforesaid. To be holden by him his Heirs and 
assigns to his and their own use benefit & benefit and behoof 
forever. So that we the Subscribers our Heirs and assigns 
from all Right Title to and Interest in the Premises by Means 
hereof shall be Secluded and forever Debarred, Saving only 
That we Reserve Necessary Highways through the same, as 
also so Much of the said Land as shall be suitable for the Place- 
ing a Meeting House on and for a Burying Yard. This Deed 
not to Take Effect Except the Major part of the Proprietors 
in the s^ overplus land sign this Deed or at Least so many 
sign as to convey the Major part of it: 

"In Testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and 
affixed our Seals this Twenty Second Day Febru'y an. no: 
Dom : 1739/40. In the Thirteenth year of his Majesties Reighn 
George y= 2^ King i&c — 

Signed sealed and Delivered in 
Presence of 

The first nine signed in pres- 
ence of us Luke Bliss Charles 

The Eight following the first 
nine signed in presence of us 
Noah Hale Benjamin Woolcott 

John Pynchon 
John Burt 
Sam" Leonard 
James Warriner 

and seal 
and seal 
and seal 
and seal 

Henry Burt and seal 

David Mirick and seal 

Nath" Warriner and seal 
Nathaniel Hitchcock and seal 
John Mun and seal 

Nathaniel Bliss and seal" 

Seventy-five different persons signed the Deed, and sixty- 
four of them appeared, at seven different times, before Charles 
Pynchon, Justice of the Peace, and acknowledged the same, 
and also on two occasions, before W". Pynchon, Justice of the 
Peace, for the same purpose. Several of the signers died with- 

40 The History of Wilbbaham 

out acknowledging it, and, at different sessions of the Court, 
two persons would testify that they were present and saw the 
deceased person sign the Deed. All of which is recorded with 
the instrument. 

It will be remembered that Samuel Warner was one of the 
committee, chosen by the precinct, "to further pursue and 
execute a Deed that is Given of the Land called the Overplus 
Land" etc. — , and that they "shall hier a Justice Peace to take 
acknowledgements of the same att the Charge of the Precinct." 

In connection with this subject, I have found among the 
papers, left by Samuel Warner, the following: 

"1745, Dec. 16. Resaight 
Re"^"* of Samuel Warner 20 shillings old ten"' in full for taking 
sundry acknowledgements of a Deed made to Mr. Mirick 

Joseph Pynchon" 

On the 17th of April, 1741, without waiting for the "advice 
of three neighboring ministers," they "unanimously voated a 
Gall or Desire that the Worthy Mr. Noah Mirick should settle 
with" them "in the work of the Ministry;" They also chose 
Aaron Stebbins to assist Chapin and Warner in getting "More 
Signers to a Deed of the overplus Land and get the same 
aeknolidged;" and to "hier Mr. Mirick Pour Sabbaths more, 
if he Give encouragement to settle. ' ' The meeting was adjourned 
to the 24th of April, and at that meeting they chose a com- 
mittee of five to "State, Regulate and Draw up a scheem 
Relating to the Encouragement of Mr. Mirick's settling with 
them in the work of the ministry." 

The importance of securing a deed of the "Overplus Land" 
is indicated by their voting that their committee on that sub- 
ject, "shall hier a Justice Peace to take acknowledgments of . 
the same att the Charge of the Precinct." They then adjourn 
to the "Eleventh Day of May next." At this May meeting 
the committee chosen to "Regulate a salary to ofer to Mr. 
Mirick" make their report. They state that they have taken 
the matter into serious consideration, and that they find "the 
money or Coin in this Province is so variable and uncertain as 

The History of Wilbraham 41 

to its value in Proportion with other commodaties that they 
can't think it a medium whereby the salary can be settled or 
ascertained with any safety or security either to the Minister 
or People." "Wherefore," they continue, "we have considered 
the value or Currant Market Price of the several Commodaties 
hereafter mentioned. Viz: Indian Com att 6s. per booshel; 
Wheat, lis. per booshel; Rie, 8s. 6d. per booshel; Barley, 8s. 
per booshel; Oats, 4s. per booshel; Flax, from y swingle. 
Is. 6d. per pound; Beaf, 5d. per pound." They further recom- 
mend "that Mr. Mirick be Elowed either money for his salary 
Bills or other Commodaties or Considerations Equal to One 
Hundred Pound a year for the first four years of his being 
settled and after the fourth year to Rise five Pounds a year till 
his sallary amount to one Hundred and forty Pound per annum 
in the Currancy above said so long as he continue to be their 
minister." They further recommend that a committee shall 
annually agree with the minister upon price, "before the meet- 
ing for Granting Precinct Charges," so that "the sum shall be 
Equal in value as above specified, and "that the whole of the 
salary be paid in by the Last Day of March Annually." They 
also suggest "that for his further encouragement he have the 
improvement of that part of the Ministry Land that will fall 
to the Ministry of this Precinct." 

They also estimate, "by a moderate computation," that the 
"Overplus Land," of which they are obtaining a deed for the 
minister, is "worth three Hundred Pounds," which is consid- 
ered, as it was, a generous settlement. They conclude their 
report in the following words: "and for the further encourage- 
ment of Mr. Mirick's settling with us, it is Proposed that we 
Cut and Boat of a sufficient Quantity of Rainging Timber for 
a Dwelling House for him and convey the same to the Place 
where he shall Determine to Erect said Building." Such is 
the offer which these twenty-two or twenty-four landholders 
make to the "worthy Mr. Mirick to settle" with them in the 
ministry. The meeting "voated that the same be Excepted, 
Granted and Elowed in the value maner and Proportion, as it 
is expressed and set forth in the Report." They choose a com- 

42 The History of Wilbraham 

mittee to "wait upon Mr. Noah Mirick with a Copy of said 
Report and the aforesaid voat for his Answer," and adjourn to 
the "Eighteenth Day" of the month, seven days, to give Mr. 
Merrick time to consider the conditions and prepare his answer. 

To us of the present day, when we consider the smallness of 
the number and the poorness of the possessions of the members 
of the precinct, the salary and settlement seem generous. 

Mr. Merrick evidently had some of the wisdom of the chil- 
dren of this world, as well as that of the children of light. At 
SLTxy rate, at the adjourned meeting, "it was considered that the 
offers for the encouragement of Mr. Noah Mirick's settling 
with us as our minister were not sufHcient." This is certainly 
very modestly stated, and relieves Mr. Merrick from all sus- 
picion of having offensively pressed a bargain of his solicitous 
hearers. It is very probable that he had hinted some additional 
favors which they might render him, which, while they would 
cost little but labor, would be to him as acceptable as gold, for 
they vote "to provide the timber for a Dwelling House for said 
Mr. Mirick, which was not included in the former voat;" 
also to "Hue, frame, and Raise said building, for said Mr. 

.Meanwhile Joseph Wright and Daniel Warner, who were 
chosen on March 25th to take the advice of three neighboring 
ministers, have made the journey through the woods to South 
Hadley, obtained the opinions of three ministers there assem- 
bled, and have safely returned with the advice of Samuel AUis, 
James Bridgham, and Edward Billings, which is in the follow- 
ing words : "These may signifye that upon Application made to 
us by a Committee from a Place called Springfield Mountains, 
of their choice of Mr. Noah Mirick for their minister, that we 
approve of their Choice, and Heartily Commend him and them 
to the Divine Blessing." The advice is acceptable, of course, 
for these men of a "Place called Springfield Mountains" had 
already strained a point to make the salary and settlement 
satisfactory to the minister. 

The meeting adjourns to May 26th, and receives the 
answer that "the worthy Mr. Mirick gave to the call that 

The History of Wilbraham 43 

he should settle in the Ministry heare," in the following 
letter: — 

"To the inhabitants of the fourth precinct in Springfield 
convened, and 

"Dear Friends: I have now more thoroughly Considered 
your voats Relating to my settling among you, and must Con- 
fess that the matter Looks dark Enough with Regard to my 
support. Your encouragements, you must needs be sensible, 
being but small; but, how;ever. Considering your Present Cir- 
cvunstances and the great need you stand in of a minister, and 
considering further the unanimity you have Discovered in 
your Choice and the seeming call of Divine Providence, I dare 
not think of leaving you. 

"I have therefore determined (putting my trust in him who 
Careth for us all) to Except of your invitation with hopes and 
Expectations of your future Kindness to me, and your Readi- 
ness, att all times, to contribute to my support and comfort, 
as God shall give you ability; and the Lord grant that we may 
live togeather in Love while we are hear, and when we go home 
may set down -togeather in the Kingdom of our Lord and Sav"' 
Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, both now and forever. Amen. 

"Noah Mirick 
"Springfield May 26, 1741." 

The meeting "votes to Chuse a Committee to confer and 
agree with Mr. Noah Mirick Relating to the time of his ordina- 
tion, and also what Churches to apply to for assistance in the 
ordination, and to act in- other affairs Dependent thereupon," 
who are to make "a Return of their Proceedings to the next 
meeting that shall be called." Events now thicken. The great 
day of desire is near at hand. A special meeting of the precinct 
is called, by a new warrant, May 29. Aaron Parsons "moder- 
ates" the meeting, and, with a pride which we cannot quite 
admire, and with an indiscretion which the fervor of their 
enthusiasm at the near prospect of having a minister aU their 
own will certainly excuse, they voted "That the Ordination of 
the worthy Mr. Noah Mirick shall be in the oldest Parish in 
Springfield, if Liberty can be obtained;" and, "that the Com- 
mittee shall take care that suitable Provisions be made for the 

44 The History of Wilbraham 

Entertainment of those called to Assist in said Ordination att 
the expense of the Precinct." Whether "Liberty" could not 
be obtained, or whether the Warriners and Blisses and Warners 
came to their right minds after the meeting, which is to be 
hoped, they were saved that long tiresome journey across the 
plains, through the woods and swamps, by a final determination 
to have the ordination of their own minister among their own 
dwellings. Accordingly, a large oak tree, then standing near 
the house of Daniel Warner, which, as I have said, was a few 
rods north of Federal lane, was selected as the place to hold 
the services. 

A rude ptdpit of rough boards was constructed, and a few 
.seats of boards and logs arranged around it to accommodate 
the people. 

The morning of the great day to those people came at last; 
but it came not clear, balmy and fragrant as June mornings 
usually are; it was lowering, and the sky was hid by clouds. 
The "ministers and their dellegates and students" had come 
from Hadley and Springfield and Longmeadow and Brimfield, 
and the grave council was sitting in solemn deliberation, we 
may suppose, at Nathaniel Warriner's. The people were 
gathering, — Daniel Lamb from the plains, David Chapin from 
over the mountain, the Bartletts, and Blisses, and Burts and 

The venerable oak seemed to feel the honor done it, and 
welcomed them lovingly to its shelter, if not to its shade. The 
sun was getting high, and the clouds were growing thick. But 
the council did not come. A very serious difficulty had arisen, 
which the learned and worthy ministers and their "Dellegates" 
could not remove. In organizing the church, before proceeding 
to ordain the minister, they found that there were but six 
members, — ^an insufficient number. There must be, said the 
venerable council, seven. On what ground this reason for not 
proceeding with the ordination was set up does not appear; 
the proceedings were all in abeyance. Dr. Merrick says in his 
address, "At length a man produced himself and said he had 
made up his mind to join the church, but waited only for the 

The Histoby of Wilbhaham 45 

ordination." The council concluded they could admit him, 
which they did, and then proceeded." 

"It would be curious to know what they built their opinion 
upon, but my father, who told me this, said he never asked 
them, and he could not conceive what it could be." In a 
history of Massachusetts published in 1839, it is stated that 
David Warriner was the man who came forward to make up 
the sacred and required number of seven, thus relieving the 
reverend coimcil of their difficulty, and the waiting and wonder- 
ing audience of their impatience- 

But they were not soon enough to escape the gathering 
storm. Hardly had they reached the welcoming oak, when it 
began to "rain, and they hurriedly adjourned the service to 
Nathaniel Warriner's bam. (This bam was standing in 1831.) 

There the ordination services were performed. The hymn 
was sung, the sermon preached, the prayer was offered, the 
charge given, the benediction pronounced, and the audience 
departed to their homes, with hearts overflowing with joy that 
the Lord had heard their prayers, and given them so good a 
man for their minister as him whom they loved to call the 
"worthy Mr. Mirick." The reverend council, their delegates, 
and students, after partaking of the hospitality of these frugal 
people at the houses of Warriner and Brewer, and spending 
the night, started in the early morning for their distant homes, 
leaving behind them good wishes and prayers fragrant as the 
flowers. The following is a copy of part of the first page in the 
book of church records, written by Rev. Noah Merrick. 

The record is in a homemade book of forty-four pages, con- 
sisting of blank sheets of paper, folded and stitched together. 
The pages are about four inches wide and six inches long. The 
writing is very fine and small, and some words abbreviated. 

"Records of y* Ch'' in y^ East Precinct In Springfield. 

"June 24: 1741. was gathered a Ch'' in y= East or fourth 
Precinct in Springfield; consisting of y= following persons; 
Viz; Noah Merick, Joseph Wright, David Merick, David 

•J' ■ ""■ ./^~\ /OIL - *"..#' 

i''"%j J/44^ i/u^-^^. "-'^Ixp^ ^'■^^r -T"^ \ 


The History of Wilbhaham 47 

Warriner, Nath" Warriner, Nath" Hitchcock, Isaac Brewer, 
and David Chapin. — 

And Noah Merick ordained Pastor — 
July 5: 1741. Tho= Son of David Merick, Baptised. 
Aug' 9: 1741. Miriam, Daughter of Sam" Kilbome, Baptised. 
Aug' 16: 1741. Sam" Wkmer, and Margret, Wife of Nath" 

Warriner, admitted to communion. 
Aug' 23: 1741. Jerusha, Daughter of Dan" Warner, Baptised. 
Sep' 27: 1741. Phineas Chapin owned y' Covenant. 
Octob' 18: 1741. Noah, Son of Sam" Stebbins, and Ehzabeth, 

Daughter of Sam" Warner, Baptised." 

It is interesting to read this first record of the church in this 
place, made one hundred and seventy-two years ago, probably 
on the day when the events happened. 

"At the first precinct meeting held after the ordination, 
November 6, 1741, it was voted, as if in gratitude for having 
secured a shepherd to care for the sheep of the Great Shepherd," 
"to build a pound in this precinct att the Charge of the pre- 
cinct," so that the cattle might also be saved from doing them- 
selves or their owners, or others, harm. 

Then came up next the very difficult subject of locating the 
meeting house, for some settlers had come into the southern 
portion of the precinct. 

To give time for consultation apparently, the meeting is 
adjourned for "half an hour." Then the meeting is adjourned 
for one month to December 7, "Att nine of the clock in the 
morning." They met and "adjourned to one of the clock in 
the afternoon." Again they met, and it was "Voted that the 
1st Meeting House or House for the Public Worship of God 
shall be sett on the Land Called the Over Plus Land in the 
Middle Division," a strip across the precinct from east to west, 
four miles long, as will be remembered, and eighty-two rods 
wide. This was as. near as they could come to agreeing upon a 
location after a month's special consideration and four meetings. 

They voted and chose "James Wood of Summers, John 
Shearman Esq. of Brimfield, and Ephraim Terry of Endfield" 
a committee to determine on "what Spot or Place in the Over 

48 The History of Wilbraham 

Plus Land of the Middle Division said Meeting House shall be 
Erected." Another meeting was held the next week, December 
14, 1741, at which the chief business was to raise and appropri- 
ate money. They "Voted and granted to Rev. Noah Mirick 
Fifty Pounds in money for half a years salary;" to "Nathaniel 
Warriner six pounds, one shilling and sixpence for his keeping 
the Ministers Dellegates and Scholars at the time of the Ordina- 
tion;" to "Aaron Stebbins for the Expense he was att in Geting 
the Deed of the Over Plus Land further Executed, one pound 
ten shillings;" to "Isaac Brewer ten shillings for keeping the 
Ministers Dellegates and Scholars Horses att the time of the 
aforesaid Ordination;" and also, "Ten Shillings for the Boards 
and Nails he provided for a Pulpit and y' work he did tords 
y= same;" to "David Mirick four shillings for the work he did 
tords the same;" to "Rever""^ Mr. Noah Mirick Forty Pounds 
for Twenty Sabbaths Preaching before he was ordained;" to 
"Nathaniel Warriner for keeping Mr. Mirick and his Mair 
Eleven Pounds Ten Shilling;" to "Sam" Stebbins Jun'., Three 
Shillings for keeping the Rever""* Mr. Mirick's Mair Last 
Spring;" to "Thomas Mirick, 2^, one Pound Twelve Shillings 
for his Expense in pursuing a Petition in the General Court in 
Behalf of this Precinct;" to "Abel Bliss fifteen Shillings" for 
the same service; "Granted also Seven Pounds in money for 
Contingent Charges to be Disposed of by the Committee of 
this Precinct;" to "Daniel Warner for his Geting Mr. Mirick's 
Mair kept Last Spring two pounds;" " Voated to Chuse a Com- 
mittee to se that Mirick's house be sett up agreeable to the 
Precinct's Obligation;" "Granted Twenty Pounds to Defray 
the Charge of Providing a Scriber and Building a House for the 
Reverend Mr. Mirick;" 

"Voated that Isaac Brewer" (who kept a tavern on the west 
side of Main Street, eight or ten rods south of Springfield 
Street, where Mr. and Mrs. Gumey now live) "Shall entertain 
the Committee appointed to Determine a Place or Spot" for 
setting the "first Meeting House att the Charge of the Pre- 
cinct;" "Voated that fourty-one Pound fifteen shillings and 
six pence of the money Granted at this Meeting shall be Raised 

The History of Wilbraham 


of the Poles and Rateable Estates of the Inhabitants of this 
Precinct;" and finally "Voated that the whole sum of one 
Hundred forty-one Pound fifteen Shilling and six pence, that 
was Granted' att this meeting shall be Disposed of by the Com- 
mittee of this Precinct." 

Sudi was the generous sum raised to liquidate past obliga- 
tions and accomplish future undertakings. It will be noticed 

Now home of Frank A. Gurney. 

that the smallest services rendered by any inhabitant of the 
Precinct were paid for. Very little seems to have been volun- 
tarily given. At this meeting the committee on locating the 
meeting house presented their report. We can easily imagine 
with what eagerness and solicitude those freeholders and other 
inhabitants of the fourth precinct in Springfield, assembled at 
the dwelling house of Isaac Brewer, listened to the finding of 

50 The History of Wilbraham 

their disinterested committee selected from "neighboring 
towns." The report read as follows: — 

"Whereas we the subscribers being Chosen a Committee by 
a vote of the Freeholders and inhabitants of the fourth Pre- 
cinct in Springfield to Determine what Place or spot in the over 
plus land in the Middle Division where the first Meeting House 
shotold be Erected or set up and haveing heard the Pleas of the 
inhabitants Relating to the said Affair and having Considered 
maturely thereon, Doe mutually Agree and Determine said 
Meeting House to be set up on that hiU lying in the over plus 
Land and about six score Rods East of the Westermost Rode" 
(Main Street) "in said Precinct and about sixty or seventy rods 
West or Westerly of the top of wigwam Hill so Called and 
Southerly of a Run of Water that Runs out of the mountains 
there being a small Black Oak Tree marked on the South side 
with a cross on said Hill. 

"Springfield December IT'", A. D. 1741. 

John Sherman ] 

James Wood \ Committee" 

Ephraim Terry J 

When the reading was finished, it was "Voated, Excepted in 
the full intent Contents and Limitations Expressed and set 
forth in said Committee's Report." The great question now 
apparently settled, there is a lull in the storm of precinct 
meetings, and work is commenced in earnest on Mr. Merrick's 

At a meeting held May 14th, 1742, I find this record, which 
seems to be worth printing, to show what they accomplished 
in about six months. 

"The following Grants mad to Defray the Charges Building 
y" Rev"'' Noah Miricks House made in the old Tenor. (Much ' 

Aaron Stebbins 5}/^ days work 1 lb. 18 s. 

Stephen Stebbins 1 day drawing timber 6 s. 

Paul Langdon 2 days a framing 18 s. 

David Mirick 5 days a huing 2 lbs. 5 s. 

David Mirick for his team and Boy most a day 

Drawing timber 6 s. 

The History of Wilbraham 51 

Sam" Bartlett 4 days a framing 

Thomas Mirick 1 day with team 

Thomas Mirick 3 days a framing 

Stephen Stebbins in Considarashun 

Nathaniel Hitchcock 3 days a framing 

Moses Bartlett 1 day framing 

Nathaniel Bliss 7 days work 

Samuel Stebbins team draw timber 

Samuel Stebbins 7 day a framing 

Phineas Chapin 1 day= work 

Jonathan Ely 4 day^ work 

Daniel Warner 1 day sloding ( ?) timber 

Daniel Warner 1 day drawing timber 

Nathaniel Warriner 1 day sloding (?) timber 

Nathaniel Warriner 1 day huing rafters 

Sam' Warner 415 foot slitt work 3 p. 

Sam' Warner 1 day framing 

Sam' Warner Carting slitt work 

Daniel Parsons 415 foot slitt work 3 p. 

Joseph Wright 1 day^ work with horse 

Isaac Brewer 1 day frameing 

David Mirick 1 day with team 

David Mirick 11 daj^ work, att 10 shillings 

per day, a framing 5 p. 10 s." 

Probably each man's work was deducted from his tax; or 
if the value of his work exceeded his tax he was paid the balance 
in money. The work on Mr. Merrick's house seems to have 
been pushed forward so that it was soon occupied by him. In 
October, 1744, he married Abigail Brainard of Haddam, Conn. 
On their journey on horseback to his parish, she carried some 
slips of a rose bush from her old home, and set them out by the 
new one. She gave many slips to the neighbors, and some are 
still in existence here. The story was first told me when a 
child, by my great-aunt, who, in her youth was a near neighbor 
of Mrs. Merrick, but it passed out of my thought for fifty 
years, until a few years ago, when a lady of our town handed 
one of my family a bouquet of roses, and, indicating a few of 
the blossoms she said, "Those are the Parson's Rose." Then 
it all came back to me, and I wrote it out in a poem of thirty or 
more verses, with the title of the "Parson's Rose," which was 

1 p. 16 s. 
14 s. 

1 p. 1 s. 
2 s. 

1 p. 1 s. 

7 s. 

2 p. 9 s. 
6 s. 

3 p. 3 s. 

7 s. 

1 p. 8 s. 
14 s. 

1 p. 5 s. 
14 s. 

6 s. 

. 6 s. 2 p. 

7 s. 

12 s. 

. 2s: 3p. 
8 s. 

7 s. 

7 s. 

52 The History of Wilbbaham 

published in 1904-05. I insert a few of the verses, as it is a true 
Wilbraham story. 


Far, far away, in the dear old days. 

The almost forgotten days of yore, 
A maiden stood at the meeting place 

Of the streamlet with the river's shore. 

Her heart was his who was riding down 

From the precinct where he preached God's will. 

To bear her a bride, from Haddam town. 
To his parish home on Wigwam Hill. 

On stores of clothing and linen, long 

She had wrought her love in thoughtful ways; 

The wheel and shuttle had sung their song 

In her happy home through the summer days. 

A horseman riding since break of day 

Over the hiUs and under the lea. 
On woodland trail and the King's highway, 

With a happy song in his heart rode he. 

So the lover came on his own good steed, 

At evening came as the sun went down, 
Came in a day, for he rode with speed. 

To marry his bride in Haddam town. 

As the evening shadows grew apace. 

And the soaring swadlow sought his mate. 

And the full moon showed its welcome face, 
She met him there at her father's gate. 

The minister came, the same good man 

Whose hand was laid on her baby head; 

With the Lord's baptism her life began. 

And as oft since then, a prayer was said. 

A rose bush grew by her father's door, 

A wide-spread bush, bearing wealth of bloom; 

It had blossomed there from days of yore. 

And filled the house with a sweet perftime. 

The History of Wilbhaham 53 

From it she took a generous store 

Of slips to plant by her new home's ways, 

They wotild call to mind forevermore, 

The old hoipe life of her girlhood days. 

The sun was painting the eastern sky 

With the rose-red hue of breaking day, 

As they rode at mom, the trail to try. 

Of forest path and the King's highway. 

On her own horse she the loved slips bore 

Throughout that ride on the himter's trail, 

With her own hands set them by the door 
Of the parish house above the vale. 

She gave to all from her generous store. 
To all who came and a rootlet chose, 

TiU the slips were set by many a door. 

And came to be called "The Parson's Rose." 

The seasons came and the swift years sped. 
But the roses bloomed aroimd her door, 

With a fragrance sweet as when she wed 
In the scarce remembered days of yore. 

The Parson and bride they fell asleep, 
A century since on Wigwam HiU, 

But treasured slips, with blossoms sweet. 

Of "The Parson's Rose," we find them still. 

Bloom on, fair roses from Haddam town. 

And stir our hearts with the old home love. 

Days await us when deeds we have done. 
Will all be counted somewhere above. 

So may some of the deeds we have wrought, 
When our day of hfe draws near its close. 

Bring to our minds as fragrant a thought, 

As the yotmg bride planting the Old Home Rose. 

54 The History of Wilbhaham 

After the finishing of the minister's house, we hear nothing 
about btdlding the meeting house till November 24, 1742, 
when, at a precinct' meeting, "Eighty pounds old Tenor bills 
are Voated and Granted to Provide Matterials toards building 
a Meeting House in this Precinct, Viz. Nails, Glass, Covering 
&c.;" and "David Mirick, Sam" Stebbins, Daniel Cadwell, 
Sam" Bartlett and Abel Bliss are chosen a Committee to Take 
Care and Provide Materials in Order to Build Said Meeting 

The winter of 1742-43 is improved by gathering the materials. 
On May 25, 1743, "The following Grants or Elowances that 
are made att this Meeting are made in the Old Tenor. " " Voated 
and Elowed" precedes each of the following. 

"To Nathaniel Warriner 4 pounds 15 shillings for one 
thousand of Good Pine Boards inch thick Delivered on that 
Hill appointed by a Committee Chosen by this Precinct to 
Erect the first meeting house on. To Stephen Stebbins 2 
pounds 15 shillings for 600 foot of Quarter Boards Delivered 
as a bove Said. To Sam" Stebbins 5 pounds 4 shillings for 
1034 foot of Quarter Boards Del^"* as a bove said. To Aaron 
Parsons 2 poimds six shillings for 500 foot of Good Marchantable 
Pine Boards. Delivered as a bove said. To Jonathan Ely 1 
pound 8 shillings 6 pence for 300 foot of inch Pine Boards. To 
Moses Bartlett 1 pound seven shillings and 6 pence for 300 foot 
of Good Marchantable Pine Boards. To Caleb Stebbins 18 
shillings and 4 pence for 200 foot of Good Marchantable Pine 
Boards. To David Mirick 2 pounds -5 shillings for a 1000 of 
Good Seader Shingles. To Daniel Cadwell 18 shillings & 4 
pence for 200 foot of Good Marchantable Pine Boards. To 
Moses Burt 2 pounds 5 shillings for a 1000 of Good Sedar 
Shingles. To Nathaniel Bliss 2 pounds 8 for a 1000 of Good 
Spruce Shingles without sap. To Sam" Bartlett 2 pounds 5 
shillings for a 1000 of Spruce Shingles without sap. To Phineas 
Chapin 2 pounds and 7 shillings for 1000 of Spruce Shingles, 
without sap. To Daniel Parsons 2 pounds 8 shillings for a 
1000 of Sedar Shingles. To David Jones 2 pounds & 5 shillings 
for a 1000 of Sedar Shingles. To Caleb Stebbins 2 pounds & 
8 shillings for a 1000 of Good Marchantable Spruce Shingles. 
To Sam" Warner 3 poimds 6 shillings and a penny for 700 & 
18 foot of Good Marchantable Quarter Boards. To Daniel 
Cadwell 2 pounds six shillings for 600 foot of Good Marchantable 

The History of Wilbbaham 55 

Quarter Boards. To Thomas Mirick 2 pounds 8 shillings for a 
1000 of Good Marchantable Spruce Shingles without sap." 

It seems that quite an amount of material had been gathered, 
and we imagine that the hammerers and sawyers, the hewers 
and the framers are following close upon the "Scriber" as he 
lays out the work, improving every day, between planting and 
hoeing, and haying and sowing, so that when the autumn 
comes, the, doors of the sanctuary wiU be opened for worshipers. 
Alas for hxmian expectations! Instead of this result, we find 
that nothing had been done. For at a meeting November 29, 
an attempt is made to change the location, but it was not suc- 
cessful, for December 8, 1743, it is " Voated to build a meeting 
house on that spot of Land that this Precinct voated to build 
one on at a former meeting," and also that the "Precinct Com- 
mittee shall take care to Provide a Place for the Carring on the 
Worship of God." 

So the matter rested for more than a, year. Some idea of 
prices at that time may be had from a vote taken at a meeting 
held December 10, 1744. "Voated to Thomas Mirick 10 
shillings for two quires of paper for the use of Precinct Com. & 
Treasurer." The location of the meeting house was still an 
unsettled question, for on April 10, 1745, the precinct "Voted 
that the meeting House shall be set by the West Rode of this 
Precinct on the Land Called the over Plus Land in the middle 
Division." Our present Main Street was then called the West 
Road, and evidently the intention was to set the meeting house 
on that piece of land, since called "The Green," about where 
the school house of District No. 3 now is. It is apparent that 
the fathers felt the need of the most accurate information, for 
at a precinct meeting, about this time, they "Voated to Daniel 
Warner 6 pounds for the Province Law Books." But the all 
important question of a location for the meeting house would 
not stay settled. At a meeting held October 28, 1745, those 
who favored the Wigwam Hill location rallied all their forces 
and out-voted the "West Rode" parties, and, "Voated to 
Build the Meeting House on the Hill Called Wigwam' Hill" 

56 The History of Wilbraham 

and "to chuse some Judicious Men to advise us as to some 
measures whereby we may Establish a Place where to Erect a 
meeting House in this Precinct,'' and it was "Voated that Mr. 
John Worthington, Mr. Francis BaU and Mr. Timothy Nash be 
advisers in the affair aforesaid;" and Caleb Stebbins is to 
"apply himself to said advisors in behalf of the Precinct." 
The committee may have given some advice, but they did not 
make any report that is recorded. On November 4, 1745, it is 
"Voated to Chuse a Committee to determine the Place or Spot 
on the Overplus Land in y' Middle Division, mewing the land 
at large, where the first Meeting House shall be erected," and 
that "Ensign William King, Lieutenant Abraham Adams, and 
Leut. Thomas Jones " be that committee. The next vote passed 
at this meeting seems to specify more definitely the powers of 
the committee, and the purposes of the precinct. "Voated, 
That Leut. Abraham Adams, of Suffield, Ens" William King, 
of Suffield, and Leut. Thomas Jones of Endfield, be a Committee 
to appoint and Determine in what Place in the Over Plus Land 
in the middle division in this Precinct, it is most fit for this 
Precinct to biaild their Meeting House, and that the Place 
which they shall appoint shall be the Place of Seting it, and 
that the Meeting House be set there accordingly, at the charge 
of this Precinct, and of such Dementions as this Precinct shall 
determine;" and Nathaniel Warriner is directed "to apply to 
the Committee," and "Daniel Parsons and Nathaniel Bliss to 
wait on the afores'' committee in showing of them the Land." 
The meeting was then adjourned to November 18, — two weeks 
— -when the report of the committee was received, whose deci- 
sion they had voted should be final. The committee report: 
"Pursuant to the trust Reposed in us by said Precinct, after 
viewing the Land and hearing the Pleas in said Precinct, we 
Judge and Determine that the Meeting House be built on a Hill 
Commonly Called Wigwam Hill, about seven or eight and 
twenty Rods southward of the house of Rev. Noah Mirick" 
[which was six or eight rods northwesterly of the house in which 
Henry T. and C. P. Bolles now live], "and about seven Rods 
south westward from a pine tree which we have mark' with 

The History of Wilbraham 57 

an ax as wittness our hands this sixteenth day of November, 
1745." The good people generously paid Adams and King, of 
Sufiield, each, "four pounds," and "Jones of Enfield, three 
pounds 15 shillings, old tenor, for their services;" and Nathaniel 
Bliss and Daniel Parsons each "one pound five shillings for 
Rideing with the Committee 2 days & half ;" and Dea. Nathaniel 
Warriner "one pound six Pence for Procuring the Committee, 
and two Pound twelve shillings & six Pence," all in "Old Tenor, 
for Keeping said Committee and their Horses." 

The meetings on Sunday having been held in Daniel Parsons' 
house, he was paid for its use for the year ending March 22, 
1746, "two pounds, old tenor;" and in May there are " Voated 
and granted to Isaac Brewer, att the Rate of three pounds old 
tenor per year, for the use of his Chamber to Cary on the 
publick worship in," and "that he shall have Reasonable 
Elowance for fitting up said Chamber for the Decent Carrying 
on the worship in." The next year, March 17, 1747, there was 
"Voated and granted to Isaac Brewer twelve shillings, old 
tenor, for his Services in Riging up his chamber for the Publick 
Worship, with the nails he Provided." Everything now seems 
to be well arranged, a temporary place of worship provided, 
and the location of the meeting house decided ; nothing remains 
but to go on and finish the building. StiU things did not run 
smoothly. The precinct had for some cause got into a lawsuit 
with Daniel Parsons; the owners would not pay the "two pence 
per acre " land tax, and suits were growing up because the lands 
were sold to pay them. It seemed desirable to some "that the 
Lands that were given to the Rev. Mr. Mirick should be 
exempt from the tax laid upon it. Either in whole or in part;" 
and more than all, the meeting house question would not 
remain settled, but thrust itself forward at the precinct meet- 
ings, and on March 4, 1747, the precinct "Voats to Chuse 
Ensign Joseph Sexton, of Simimers, Leut"' Joseph Blocket, of 
Brimfield, and Leuf' Gersham Makepice, of Western, a com- 
mittee" to "locate the meeting house and that they have 
liberty to set it in any place in the Precinct, and said com- 
mittee shall view the lands of said Precinct at large, or till 

58 The History of Wilbraham 

they be satisfied." They are no longer confined to the "Over- 
plus Land. ' ' The precinct is ' ' All before them where to choose. ' ' 
A committee is chosen "to show them the land;" another, to 
entertain them; another, of six members, "to take care to build 
the meeting house at the cost of the Precinct where it is 
located," making it "forty five feet long, thirty five feet wide, 
and of suitable height." On the "first Monday in May, at 
3 o'clock in the afternoon," it is " Voated that the award of the 
committee be accepted and recorded;" which was as follows: 
"We doe award. Prefix & Determine that the spot or place 
where their meeting House ought to be set, is on the Hill Com- 
monly Called the Wigwam Hill, the centre of said spot being 
att a walnut Staddle of about four or five inches Diameter, 
there being a fast stone in the Ground, about two feet and a 
half northwest of said staddle; said staddle standing twenty^ 
eight . Rods & sixteen Links, Running by a point of compass 
from the southwest comer of Mr. Noah Mirick's dwelling-house, 
south sixteen degrees thirty minits East unto said staddle." 
After a struggle of six years, and the assistance of four different 
committees, chosen from outside the precinct, the "Place or 
Spot" is again selected, although the last location is prac- 
tically the same as the one preceding it. So it appears that three 
different places were selected, at different times, on which to 
build the meeting house. First, on the hill, sometimes called 
Pine Hill, about sixty rods east of our present Main Street. 
Second, "by the West Rode," [the Green] and third and fourth, 
on Wigwam Hill. It is probable that the settlers in the east 
and south parts of the precinct favored that location. The 
"Stebbins History" says "there was a common of about two 
acres on which the meeting house was placed," and, that so 
much progress had been made in building the meeting house, 
that December 25, 1747, a precinct meeting is called "to be 
held at the house of Nathaniel Hitchcock or House of Publick 
Worship;" But it is probable that the words, "House of Public 
Worship" refer to Hitchcock's house, for his house had been 
used for that purpose, and at the precinct meeting held the next 
spring on March 15, 1748, the record says they were " assembled 

The History of Wilbraham 59 

at the House of Nathaniel Hitchcock or House of Public Wor- 
ship." At the meeting held December 25, 1747, the precinct 
" Voated & Granted Three Hundred and fifty pounds old tenor 
Bills for Defraying the Charge of Building a meeting House in 
this Precinct." So it wotdd seem that nothing had yet been 
done towards erecting the building. At the precinct meeting 
held at Hitchcock's house, March 15, 1748, there was an article 
in the warrant as follows, "Article 4, to Pass any further voats 
if thought Necessary Relating to Building a meeting House in 
S"* Precinct." There was no action on this article, as the pre- 
cinct had voted at the previous meeting in December, to appro- 
priate the money for the btiilding. After a struggle of nearly 
seven years, from December 5, 1741, to March 15, 1748, the 
"place or spot for setting the meeting house" is determined, 
and the necessary funds have been voted. Warriner's "seadar 
shingles," and Brewer's "good pine timber," and Stebbins' 
"Marchantable pine boards," and Warner's "slit work" have 
been seasoning and rotting on Pine Hill for nearly five years, 
waiting for the builders. At last the long looked for hour has 
come. Teams, scribers, axes, saws and hammers, and those 
eager pioneers, are busy at the task they loved, and so much 
progress was made that the meeting house was used late in 

In the record of births, kept by "Clark" Warner, is the fol- 
lowing entry: "Charles Brewer, son of Isaac and Mary Brewer 
was bom Dec. 18, 1748 the first that was Baptised in our 
meeting hous." And in the chiu-ch record is this entry : "Dec. 
25, 1748, Charles, son of Isaac Brewer, Baptised, in meeting 
house." The next previous baptism is October 30, 1748. So 
that it is probable that the house was first used for public 
worship about that time. There is no record of any dedication 
services. The building was a mere shell for some years. On 
January 2, 1749, the precinct met at the meeting house, but 
adjourned to the house of Nathaniel Hitchcock, because, it is 
very likely, it was too cold to remain for the transaction of 
business, where they could endure to remain, warmed by the 
fervors of devotion, to worship. When they were assembled at 

60 The History of Wilbraham 

Hitchcock's, they, "Voated and Granted fourty Pounds old 
tenor to support the Charge of further finishing the meeting 
House." About two weeks later, on January 16, 1749, they 
met at the meeting house and, "15 pounds old tenor Granted 
to further finish the Meeting House." 

At this same meeting, January 16, 1749, "David Mirick, Isaac 
Brewer, and Nathaniel Warriner" were "chosen a committee to 
Represent the Precinct to the town of Springfield in taking 
some measures to Get set off for a town in this fourth Pre- 
cinct." So it seems the fathers gave some thought to the 
problems concerning an independent political existence, as a 
town, thus early. December 28th, 1749, the precinct "Voated 
and Granted to Nathaniel Hitchcock fifteen shillings old tenor 
for his services Clearing and sweeping the Meeting House," 
and March 17, 1750, "Voated and Granted to D" Nathaniel 
Warriner 40 shillings old tenor for Procuring the Meeting House 
swept the past year." At the same meeting, "Voated that 
Nathaniel Hitchcock Clear and make Decent the burying yard 
by the Charge of the Precinct." Some idea of the difference in 
value between "Old Tenor Bills," and "lawful money," may 
be gained by the two following votes. "Jan. 9, 1750, Voated 
for the Ministers salary for the past year 387 pounds 5 shillings 
old tenor." One year later, December 24, 1750, "Voated and 
Granted to the Rever""* Mr. Noah Mirick 41 pounds 8 shillings 
lawful money for his salary for the year past." It will be seen 
that, at that time, one pound in "lawful money "[coin]," was 
worth nearly ten poundrin "Old tenor." 

In 1749 the selectmen of Springfield laid out, or altered, the 
road "running east & west near the rev^. Mr. Noah Miricks 
Dwelling — Beginning at the west road "[Main Street]" about 40 
rod south of M*ses Burt's Dwelling House at a black oak tree 
thence easterly ' ' [the distances only are given here] ' ' 30 rods, then 
18 rods, 24 rods, 18 rods, 14 rods, 6 rods, 20 rods, 14 rods, 13 
rods, then 27 rods to the Rev^ Mr. Miricks Stone wall that 
Encloseth his Garden," [the stone wall is still there] "then 
eastward" [the distances are given with each change in the 
direction, amounting in all to 184 rods] "at or near the Road 

The History of Wilbeaham 61 

called the middle Road" [now Ridge Road]. The east part of 
that road, beyond the minister's house, was discontinued about 
fifty or sixty years ago, as the present road, leading over the 
mountain to Monson, rendered it tmnecessary. 

Also on March 8, 1749, they laid out the road which has 
since been called, "Meeting House Lane;" "Beginning at the 
south west comer of the rev^ Mr. Noah Mirick's Stone Wall 
which Encloseth his Garden and about Seven or eight rods west 
of Mr. Mirick's House, then northerly to a tree, then 7, 9," 11 
rods to a tree near a run of water, "then 12, 22, 8, 11," 8 rods 
to a rock 6 feet west of a white oak Staddle Marked, then 9, 
14, "9 rods at the comer of Daniel Warner's New Pasture 
called his goat Pasture," then 17, "16 rods to a staddle. Thus 
far running northerly, from thence taking the weadth of said 
road in the propriety or Improvement of Isaac Brewea- and 
running by such a point as to take in the whole weadth of s"* 
road in the Propriety or Improvement of David Mirick where 
it comes into the West road or street" [Main Street] "by 
running near a west line 44 rods from s"* staddle to said street. 
2 rods wide." This road, beginning at the west end, on the 
east side of Main Street, and about 3 or 4 rods north of the pres- 
ent road leading to Monson, was the original way to the Meet- 
ing House. It is now known as "Wade's, or Merrick's, Lane." 
It ran easterly 44 rods, then turned southerly, crossing the pres- 
ent road to Monson, (about where Federal Lane enters the 
Monson road) and continuing on southerly to the Meeting 
House on Wigwam Hill. That part of the road north of 
the Monson road was . discontinued, probably when the Mon- 
son road was laid out. The part south of Monson road 
was discontinued about 1870, and a new road, to take its 
place, made about 60 or 70 rods further to the east, from 
the present residence of C. C. Beebe to that of H. T. and 
C. P. Bolles. 

At a precinct meeting held "Mar. 19"" 1751, Voated and 
Granted to Nathaniel Bliss 5 shillings 4 pence Lawful money to 
be paid to the Rev''"'* Mr. Merrick's Negro." This payment 
may have been for sweeping the meeting house. On "Jan. 5, 

62 The History of Wilb^aham 

1757, Voated & Granted to M"'. Miricks Negro for fetching 
Clay from Town four pence three farthings." 

"Jan. 13 1752 Met at Meeting House and granted the Min- 
isters salary 41 pounds 18 shillings 4 pence lawful money, then 
adjourned to the Dwelling House of Moses Burt;" [probably it 
was cold at the meeting house] "then, Voated and Granted 53 
pounds, 6 shillings, 8 pence lawful money towards the further 
finishing the meeting house," and, "Thomas Mirick, Stephen 
Stebbins, Daniel Cadwell, David- Mirick & Nat' Warriner 
chosen a Committee to Lay out said money first in Ceiling and 
Plastering said Meeting House in order to make it warm and 
if there be any money Remaining to Lay it out in Procuring 
materials for the seats Sec" "March 17, 1752, Voated & 
Granted to Nathaniel Hitchcock Eight shillings for service 
Don to y= buring yard". It will be remembered that he was 
chosen two years before to make the "burying yard Decent." 
A few years later it was voted to build a Stone Wall around the 
Burying Ground, which, we are very thankful now, was never 
done. A Committee was appointed to make a new agreement 
with Rev. Mr. Merrick in regard to his salary, December 24, 
1750. It is evident that the committee found their task a hard 
one, for the market value of certain necessary articles of con- 
sumption fluctuated considerably and the "Old tenor" cur- 
rency depreciated so rapidly, that it was two years before they 
made their report. On January 9, 1753, they, made the fol- 
lowing report:-. 

"The agreement of y= Committee with y« Rever""* M' Noah 
Mirick upon y' species on w'^'' y* Sallary for y^ year past was 
Stated is as follows: 

Ib. s. p. 

Indian Corn at 

15 s. p"- boshel 

-31 — 5— 

Wheat at 

30 s. '' « 

-34 — 1 — 10 

Rey at 

20 s. " " 

-29 — 8— 2 

Barley at 

20 s. « " 

31 — 5— 

Oats at 

8 s. " , " 


Flax at 

4 s. pW lb. 

36 — 6— 8 

Beaf at 

Is. « " 


Pork at 

1 s. 6. per lb. 

28 — 2— 6 


- 9— 2 — O. 


£ 37 with its discount ' 


11— O. 



-10— 1 — O. 


in Lawful money 



r^A Vnr Mi-ioTi AlW^fAr 'PVir\mQC A/Ti-ri/^V P.Q 

1pV> StpKWnc! " 

The History of Wilbraham 63 

The report was accepted and the precinct "Voated and 
Granted y= Rev'"' Mr. Mirick his salary £ 43 — 10 s. 8 p. for 
past year." Also, "Voated that y' foregoing vote be under- 
stood to mean from y= 21'' December A. D. 1751 O. S." [old 
style] "to Jan'y y* 2"^ 1753 N. S." [new style] which makes a 
Compleat year & no more." Also, "Voated and Granted the 
sum of Ten pounds Lawful money for the further finishing y' 
Meeting House and other Contingent Charges." And at many 
of the precinct meetings, in the ten years following, additional 
sums were granted "for the further finishing of the meeting 
house. ' ' Such was the house our fathers erected in their poverty 
for the honor and worship of God. This was their "hill of 
Zion," this their .sanctuary. As they went up to worship, the 
broad expanse of the valley of the "Great River was spread out 
before them, from the mountains of Holyoke and Tom on the 
north, to the settlement at Hartford on the south. In the valley 
directly below them, the open fields of the early settlers were 
the first to greet their vision — the fields of Hitchcock and Burt 
and. Brewer and Merrick and Warriner; and on to the west, 
over forests and meadows, and beyond the plains of the inward 
commons, could be seen the blue line of vapor, signalizing the 
homes of the earlier settlers in Springfield Street ; or the white 
cloud of fog lying low along the banks of the Great River. 
And beyond, more than twenty miles away, rose the blue 
ridges of the Green Mountains, tipped with gold in the sun- 
shine of the morning, veiled in ptirple in the evening ; and when 
the frosts touched the forests in autumn, the red maple flamed 
among the trees; and the green of the pines and the yellow of 
the walnut caused the whole vast landscape to appear like a 
gorgeous carpet woven in the loom of the gods. The Lord's 
house was exalted upon the hills, and hither the tribes came up 
to worship. And when the Sabbath morning comes, Daniel 
Lamb and Sykes from the Bay Road, Chapin and BUss and 
Bartlett, from on, and over, the mountain, Hitchcock and 
Burt, Brewer and Warriner and Warner and Merrick, from 
Main Street, and Badger and Skinner and Stebbins and Chapin 
and King, from the south part of the precinct, all wend their 

















































The History of Wilbraham 65 

way, through the fields, and along the wood-land trails, and by 
obscui*e bridle-paths, and unworked highways, until the pro- 
cession, some on horse-back and some on foot — ^for now, as it 
was before, to Springfield, the young men and the maidens 
thought the walk most delightful, — all went on together up 
to the place of the sanctuary. They made their horses fast to 
the trees about the meeting house, and after such Christian 
inquiries of the neighbors whom they met there, for news of 
their households, and of the precinct, as their curiosity com- 
pelled and reverence could not restrain, they entered the 
sanctuary which they had erected for the worship of the 

After they were as comfortably seated as possible on the 
benches, in such order as had been prescribed, the "Worthy 
Rev. Noah Mirick," with wig or powdered hair and cue, bands 
and small-clothes and silk stockings and shoe-buckles of silver, 
entered the house, the congregation all rising as a token of 
riespect. He read a hymn, then handed the book over the top 
of the rough pulpit^ — ^for there was but one hymn-book in the 
precinct, and that was the minister's — ^to Deacon Nathaniel 
Warriner, who named the tune, gave the pitch, read one line 
of the hymn, and commenced singing it; Warner and Brewer 
and Langdon and Stebbins and Moses and David and Hosea and 
Huldah and Jemima and Ruth following after, as ability and 
strength permitted; the deacon considerately, and as became 
the service of God's House, waiting, before hfe gave out another 
line, till the most dilatory had finished. 

When the hymn was ended, the minister solemnly prayed, 
the congregation all reverently rising. When the prayer was 
over, another hymn was sung in the same manner. Then the 
sermon was preached, not seldom interspersed with the twitter- 
ing of swallows above, or the crying of babies below. 

At last the benediction is pronoimced, and the minister 
leaves the pulpit and passes out first, the congregation all 
standing, as when he entered. The families now gather about 
in groups to eat their frugal dinners from the logs and stumps 
which were abundant. 

66 The History of Wilbbaham 

The short intermission over, the afternoon service follows, 
similar in all respects to the morning; after which, Patd Lang- 
don again loads his marvellous wagon, [the only one at that 
time in the precinct] with his own family, and some of his 
neighbors, others mount their horses, and still others on foot, 
wend their way along the bridle-paths, and abandoned Indian 
trails on their homeward way. Some not reaching their habita- 
tions until the going down of the sun, all grateful that God has 
"cast their lines in pleasant places, and that they have a goodly 
heritage." Saturday evening is "kept" by these pioneers, and 
when the "chores" are done, and the sun is set, they are 
already "dressed," and ready to call upon their neighbors in! a 
social, or more affectionate way. 

This practice of "keeping" Saturday evenings was followed 
in many families within my own recollection. I can remember 
the time when, if the older boys or young men had traps or 
snares set to capture the game in the forest, those traps and 
snares must all be sprung on Saturday afternoon, before the 
sun went down, and not reset until after sundown on Sabbath 
evenings. Even the wild creatures of the woods, on which some 
of the people partly depended for food, must have their "day 
of rest" from the pursuit of the hunter. I can remember, when 
a child, of standing on tiptoe at a west window of my home on 
Sabbath afternoons, watching and wishing and waiting for the 
sun to go down, and when the last vestige of its glowing form 
had finally disappeared behind the western hills. Oh! then, I 
could run and caper. We have drifted a long way from the 
strict "Sabbath keeping" of those not very distant days. In 
these times, when on the Sabbath day, the automobile and the 
motor-cycle go puffing and popping and tooting their horns and 
— smelling — along the highway at a speed anjnvhere from five 
to fifty miles an hour, when the man with the baseball bat is 
knocking at the church door, and the sweaters of the football 
team are only a little way in the distance, there are many who 
are seriously asking the question, "Haven't we drifted far 

"The Meeting House is occupied, but it is far from being 

The History of Wilbeaham 67 

finished; and the years until the incorporation of the town 
in 1763, are witness to earnest efforts to btdld pews and seats; 
to put in galleries, to plaster about the pulpit, to lay the 
gallery floor, to build seats in it, to plaster under it, and finally 
to plaster the house whoUy in 1756, eight years after it was 
occupied for worship. 

On March 16th and 18th, 1756, the precinct meetings were 
held at the schoolhouse. Probably because the plastering and 
the "further finishing" of the meeting house were in progress; 
for I find that at the precinct meeting held January 5, 1757, it 
was "Voated and Granted to D" Nathaniel Warriner 1 pound 
17 shillings for Money paid to Benj. Jones for plastering the 
Meeting House Nov. 1756 and for Keeping S^ Jones & his 
horse and for some Nails & Labour about S'^ Work." Also, 
"to Benonie Atchinson for Eight days and a half^ work about 
the Meeting House Fifteen Shillings. To Sam" Bartlett for 
5 days and three quarters for work at the same place. 10 
shillings, to Joseph Sikes for Twelve days & 3 quarters of him- 
self and for his Team better than a day Ditto twenty four 
shUUngs — To D" David Mirick for half a days work making 
scafolding for the plaisterer nine pence two farthings." On 
"Mar. 24, 1760 the Parish Com. instructed to Repair the Roof 
of the Meeting House." Probably the five or six years that 
those "Good Sedar Shingles" had lain on "Pine HUl," had not 
increased their wearing qualities. But the finishing of the 
meeting house was an easy thing to do compared with the 
difficulty of "seating" it. 

As there were no pews built for the first five years, there was 
no "seating" of the congregation. 

But afterwards, we know that it was customary to "seat" 
persons in order of their age, or of civil or military dignity. The 
eldest persons being assigned to the best, or highest pew — ^for 
the highest pew in honor was often far from being best in posi- 
tion. Generally only heads of families occupied the pews on 
the floor of the house. The young men and maidens, the boys 
and the girls, were "seated" in the gallery, after it was so far 
finished that it could be occupied, and where the services of the 


The History of Wilbraham 

Lord's house were not always visible and sometimes hardly 
audible. In 1753, a committee was chosen to "seat the Meeting 
House." They* reported and their "report was Excepted," but 
was not recorded. .Persons were often dissatisfied with the 
seats assigned them, and frequently, sometimes within a few 
weeks, another committee would be chosen to "Rectify the 
mistakes of the former committee, to Dignifie the seats, and 
seat said Meeting House a New." At a precinct meeting on 
"Jan. 1=' A. Do". 1760. Voted to seat the Meeting House 
anew" [committee of nine chosen] "according to their best 
Discretion. Saving y* men & women are to be Seated together. ' ' 
The report of this committee is recorded, and here we have, for 
the first time, the names of the families in the precinct. It will 
be noticed that the names of the deacons are not given. They 
doubtless occupied what was known as "The Deacons' Seat." 
It will also be observed that in "Pew No. 2^" is seated the 
wives of the two deacons, and "The Widow Mary Mirick." 
She was probably the widow of Deacon David Mirick, who had 
died about three years previous. 

At later "seatings," after giving the names of the men for 
each pew, the report reads "and their wives with them." 

The first Seating of the Meeting House that was recorded: 

"We the Subscribers being Chosen a Committee at a Meeting 
in the Fourth Precinct in Springfield Held Ja" 1=' 1760 To Seat 
The Meeting House in S'' Precinct and to make Return of our 
Doings at y^ Adjournment of Said Meeting y^ 22^ of S"* Jan" 
Instant — ^We according mett and Seated y= fore S'^ House In 
the manner Following, and now OflEer it to your Consideration 
for acceptance — Niz 

In the Pore Seat of the Body 
Lt Paul Langdon Thos Glover — 
Isaac Colton Benja Warriner 
Simeon Willard John Jones: 
Noah Alvard & The Widw. Mercy 
Bartlett the oposite Side — 

In The Second Seat — 

John Steel Ezekiel RusseU- 

Jabes Hendrick 


In the Pew N". 1=' — • 

Nath' Hitchcock & NatW Bliss 

In the Pew N". 3il— 

John Hitchcock L't Henry Chapin 

Abner Chapin & Lewis Langdon. 

In the Pew N". 14th— 

Sam' Bartlet Benoni Atchason 

Henry Badger & Willm Stacey 

The History of Wilbeaham 


In the Pew N". 4 — 

Paul Langdon John Bliss and the 

Widy Hannah Skinner 

In the Pew No. ISth— 

Moses Colton & Ezra Barker-=- 

In the Pew N<>. 2d— 
Dec" Nathi Warriner' Wife 
Dec" Sami Days wife, The Widow 
Mary Mirick — 

In the Pew N". 20"'— 

Ltt Thos. Mirick Ens" Abel Bliss 

and Sergt Moses Burt — 

In the Pew N". 19'h— 

Dan' Warner Moses Warriner 

and Serg' Dan' Cadwell — 

In the Pew N". 8'* — 

Serg' W™ King Stephen Stebbins 

Caleb Stebbins & Dan' Lamb. 

In the Pew N°. 9— 

Sam' Warner Moses Bartlet 

Jon"! Ely & Isaac Brewer 

In the Pew No. 21=' 

Benjn Skinner John Langdon 

Philip Lyon & Hannah Langdon 

In the Pew No. 18"'— 

James Twing Benj" Warriner Jun'' 

and Stephen Bliss — 

In the Pew N". 5"' — 

Sam' Warriner Dan' Cadwell Jun"' 

and The Wid™ Sarah Warriner 

In the Pew No. 12— 

Nath' Hitchcock Jimr Moses Alvard 

and Timothy Wright — 

In the Pew No. 22<i— 

Noah Bowker Henry Wright — 

and Sam' Warner Jun' — 

In the Pew No. 23''- 
Serg' Aaron Stebbins Aaron Steb- 
bins and James Warriiier. 

In the Pew No. 16"' 

David Warriner Joseph Sikes and 

Moses Stebbins 

In the Pew No. 6"' 

Stephen Colton Silas Hitchcock 

and Isaac Osbom: — • 

In the Fore Seat in the Front 
Jesse Warner Timo. Mirick 
Mathew Cadwell Phineas Stebbins 
Abel Bliss Moses Burt Jun' & 
Enos Stebbins — 

In the Fore Seat in yo Upper T'' 
Elijah Wright Joel Atchason 
Benoni Atchason Tho^. Jones 
Nath' Bliss Junr Caleb Stebbins 
Jun»^ and Zadock Stebbins — 

In the Pew No. ntb — 
Oliver Bliss Aaron Bliss: 
and Comfort Chafie — 

In the Pew No. 11— 
Aaron Alvard Reuben Webb — 
Noah Lamb Eldad Stebbins 
Joel Bliss Eben'. Cadwell 
and Aaron Warriner. 

Fore Seat Middle Tear 
Eunice Warriner — Roda — 
Warner — ^Esther Day — 
Miriam Bartlet — 
Jemima Bliss — -and 
Elisabeth Badger — 

Second Seat in the Front 
Eunice Cadwell Eunice Mirick 
Elizabeth Warner Eunice Steb- 
bins Esther Ely Eunice Stebbins 
& Lois Mirick 

In y= fore Seat in y= Middle Tear 
Jacob Warriner Israel Warriner 
David Warriner Jun^ Isaac Brewer 
Jun^. Moses Warriner Zenas Jones 
Moses Bartlet Jun"^. & W"" King 

In the Second Seat in the Front 
Sam' Day Jun^. Silas Bliss: — 
Joseph Sikes & Will"" Barnes 

Female Side Pore Seat Front 
Martha Day Orpha Day — 
Ann Cadwell Mary Mirick 
Phebe WUlard & Sarah Lamb — 


The Histohy of Wilbraham 

Fore Seat in the Upper Q^ 
Tabitha Day Dorcas Frost 
Elisabeth Alvard Mary Warner 
Ruth Stebbins Elisabeth Brooks 
Eunice Brewer Hannah Colton — 

Second Seat Upper Quarter 
Ann Badger Mercy 
Atchason Rebecka Stebbins 
and Martha Lamb — 

Sign"^ — ^by — us — 
Samuel Day 
Nath' Warriner 
Thos Mirick 
Dan' Warner 
Dan' Cadwell 
Stephen Stebbins 
Jonathan Ely 
Aaron Stebbins 
Will" King 


This "seating" was so unsatisfactory that another committee 
of nine was chosen, about three months later, "to "seat" the 
meeting house anew." 

On March 24, 1761, the precinct "Voted that the present 
owners of the first Tear of Pews in the Body of the Meeting 
House alter the place of their Pew Doors of their Respective 
Pews at their own Cost if they please." Of the record of the 
"seating" of the meeting house in 1760, the Stebbins history 
says: "There are seventy-three men and six widows named, 
who are presumed to be heads of families, and who occupy 
pews and seats on the lower floor. Of these, twenty one are 
from what is now the South Parish." [Now Hampden] "In 
the galleries there are seated twenty six young men and thirty 
one young women, fifty seven in all. We shall not be far 
from the'truth, therefore, if we estimate the whole population 
of the precinct at this time at three hundred and fifty per- 

Another very important subject, and difficult to manage, 
was the disposal which should be made of both the "Ministry 
Lot" and the Overplus Land, a part of which, that the south 
side of the Middle Division, on which the^ev. Mr. Merrick's 
house stood, had been sold, or set to him, as the settlement 
accorded to the first settled minister of the precinct; but that 
on the south side of the Third Division, where the Langdons 
had settled, was still the common property of all the pro- 
prietors, and of course in part that of the precinct, as the 
"Ministry Lot" was by supposition a proprietor. As there 
were two "Ministry Lots" within the bounds of the precinct, — 
the one in the Middle or Second Division, No. 38, running across 

The History of Wilbraham 71 

the precinct from east to west, and about one-half mile south 
of the Chicopee River, on our Main Street, and the other. No. 
64, about one mile south of the present south- line of our town. 
As these "lots" were the common property of the town of 
Springfield, and hence of the other precincts, Springfield, West 
Springfield, and Longmeadow, each had a right to a propor- 
tionate share of their value, it was no easy task to satisfy, in 
any considerable degree, any of the parties. 

At last, however, this was arranged, after repeated con- 
ferences of committees and years of discussion and concession. 
When the precinct was incorporated as a town, the two ministry 
and school lots in the precinct were set to the town of Wilbra- 
ham, so that the interests of the other precincts in them were 
ended. The income of the money obtained from the sale of 
these "ministry lots," is part of the fund for the support of the 
ministry which the two original church societies of the "stand- 
ing order" now have. 

By repeated conferences and compromises, the claims of 
Rev. Mr. Merrick to all the "Overplus Land of the Middle or 
Second Division, about six himdred and fifty acres, were so 
disposed of as to leave him a large and valuable farm, and the 
larger sympathy of his people. 

It is probable that troubles arising out of Mr. Merrick's 
claims to so much land, which necessarily brought him into 
antagonism with many of his people, and the difficulty in 
arranging his salary, which for some years was based on the 
prices of certain commodities, were the cause of some church 
troubles which arose about 1754. At a precinct meeting held 
May 10, 1754, the following votes were passed; "Voated and 
Granted the sum of five Potmds Lawfull Money for defrajdng, 
the Charges of Entertaining the Counsel to set in this Place on 
y« 17"' of June next," also, "Voated and Granted to Dea. 
Nathaniel Warritier the sum of ten shillings Lawful Money for 
Keeping the former Counsel." There is no record in the pre- 
cinct or church books of the calling of this former Coimsel," nor 
of the proceedings of either, but the following is copied from the 
church record of that time : 

72 The History of Wilbkaham 

"June 21: -1754. Step"" Stebbins, Aaron Stebbins, Lewis 
Langdon, & Abner Chapin, made publick confession of y 
guilt, in absenting from y' Lords table, and publickly Exhibit- 
ing ag' y' Pastor a paper of Reproachful Charges.— 

"Dan" Cadwell, Henry Badger, W" Stacy & Moses Steb- 
bins, made publick Confession of y' guilt in publickly Exhibiting 
a paper of Reproachful Charges ag^' y^ Pastor. — 

"Nath" Hitchcock made publick Confession of his guilt, in 
casting Diverse Slanderous aspersions upon y= Character of y' 
Pastor without any just and sufficient ground; and in absenting 
from- y^ Lords table; and in signing a paper of Reproachful 
Charges ag' y^ Pastor. — 

"N. B. AH y'= above mentioned persons, upon making y' 
respective Confessions, were accepted by y^ C'"''. 

" Jime 23 : 1754 Isaac Brewer made publick Confession of his 
offense, in absenting himself from y^ Lords table. — and was 
accepted. — " 

It is very probable that the "cotmsels" mentioned, had 
something to do with this difficulty. 

At the precinct meeting, December 31, 1753, after voting the 
minister's salary, 44 p. 18 s. 2 p. the precinct, "Voated and 
Granted to S* Mirick twelve shillings & eight pence one farthing 
Excepted as Rearages of all his salary for the time past." Also, 
"Voated and Granted to said Mr. Mirick two pounds seaven 
shillings and five pence one farthing for his Boarding Mr. 
Kirtland." [I have the impression that "Mr. Kirtland" was a 
singing master.] 

January 5, 1756, there was an article in the warrant for the 
precinct meeting, "Article 4. to know the minds of the Precinct 
Relating to Singing & what versions of the Psalms shall be 
sung in the Public Worship." There was no action under this 
article, but the question came up again and again. 

Our ancestors, though so engaged in the establishment of 
their religious institutions, did not forget their schools. 

The town of Springfield commenced to make appropriations 
for schools in the "Outward Commons, on the east side of the 
Great River, commonly, called the Mountains," as early as 
1737, and every year thereafter until 1763, when the town was 
incorporated, beginning with the year 1737, when the amount 

The History of Wilbraham 


was 3 pounds and increasing year by year until 1749, when the 
amotint was 35 pounds old tenor, which was at 75 per. cent 
discount, or more. In 1750 the amount was 4 pounds 13 shillings 
4 pence, lawful money, and the same amount for the years 1751, 
1752, 1753, 1754, and 6 pounds 16. S. 7 p. 1 farthing for the 
year 1755. For the next eight years the total amount raised is 
given, but the sum allowed the fourth precinct is not stated. 
On November 8, 1752, the town of Springfield elected a com- 
mittee of three "to Examine the Circumstances of the Inhabi- 
tants of the Mountain Parish with Respect to the Towns 

Erected about 1790. 

Granting them a sum of money towards Defraying the Charge 
of -building the School House already built in said Parish & 
make Report at this meeting." On November 4, 1754, a com- 
mittee was chosen "to view and Consider the more proper 
Place or Places for School Houses to be built in the Mountain 
Parish & what sum is Proper to allow said Inhabitants for the 
School House already built there, and s^ com^^ are directed to 
make report as soon as may be." At another meeting, held 
twenty days later, the town "Granted the suia of 6 pounds to 
be paid to Ens" James Warriner For and Towards the Charge 
of Btiilding the school House lately built at the Mountain 
Parish so Called and to be by him repaid to the Several Persons 

74 The History of Wilbbaham 

who were at the Expense of btdlding the Same in Equal Propor- 
tion according to what they Severally advanc"* for that purpose 
they certifying to him what each advanc*^ and what they are 
severally to Receive out of the said Sum therefore." So it 
seems that a school house had been erected in the outward 
commons, or fourth precinct, previous to November 8, 1752. 
It is said to have stood on the west side of Main Street, some 
twenty or thirty rods south of our present Springfield Street 
and nearly opposite where the present Congregational Meeting 
House stands. The name and fame of the early teacher, for 
years town and Parish Clerk, Ezra Barker, usually called Master 
Barker, have come down to us bearing a multitude of traditions 
of his wit and of his rod, of the pranks of the boys and the tricks 
of the girls, some true, some probable. That he was a good 
penman the records of both town and parish testify, and any- 
one who is called to search the records of those days, owes him 
a debt of gratitude for the clear and legible manner in which he 
did the work. And in this connection it may be 'said that the 
writing of James Warriner, who was also town and parish clerk 
for a number of years, about the same time, is very legible and 
easy to read, after more than a hundred years. A few roads 
were laid out by the town of Springfield within the precinct, and 
some by the county; but they were mere cart- or bridle paths 
leading from one neighborhood and clearing to another. No 
work appears to have been done on them but to pick out a few 
stones, ■ make crossings over a few brooks, and cut away the 
trees and bushes when they intruded too closely on the path. 
The Bay Road was subject to some changes and alterations. 
Some of the names given to localities are of interest to us today. 
On May S"* 1732, some changes were made in it. The main 
thing that we are interested in is, that as the surveyors came 
along from the east, they passed through the "Elbows or 
Kingstown" [that portion of our town lying north of the bay 
road, and east of Chicopee River], and the surveyors go on to 
say — "and to keep the path as it now goeth along by Nine Mile 
Pond intoj^Springfield." Also, in 1744, some other changes 
were made. [I have abbreviated the record.] Highway Spring- 

The History of Wilbraham 75 

field to Kingston, by nine mile pond. "That the Road begin 
at the Old Road on the easterly side of said Pond and extending 
thence easterly 4 rods wide, thence East 2 Deg 30, So. 31 rods, 
thence East 3 Deg. 30. So. 39 rods to a rock and stones on it, 
thence east 3 d. No. 49J^ rods to a stiunp and stones near 
Lambs Door, thence east, 9 d. so. 34 rods to a small white oak 
marked — ^which road is running through the school lot." 

In 1755, the town of Springfield laid out a "highway from the 
parting of the Paths against Goose Pond" [now Winchester 
Square] "to the Outward Commons," [very much abbreviated 
imtil the present west line of Wilbraham is reached] "to the 
east side the brook at Stone Pitt" [perhaps now, Watershops 
Pond, or the small brook about one-half mile further west], 
"then — ^to Mr. James Warriners fence— to Warriner's Bridge — 
to the northwest comer of a scheme lot laid out to Samuel 
Warner 2'"' then east 80 rods to the meadow at Kilbom's 
Bridge, then east 14 rods to the east side the causeway then 
east 20 rods^ — ^by David Jones house, then 12 rods, then 20 rods 
to a heap stones, then north 45° east 4 rods then 14 rods, then 
east 83^ rods to the outward commons." [The variations from 
due east are not given here.] This is our present highway from 
the Centre Village to Springfield, west of the line of the outward 
commons, now called Springfield Street, and this record is 
principally interesting because of the names given to localities, 
such as, "Stone Pitt," "Warriner's Bridge," "Kilbom's Bridge," 
and "David Jones house." The two last are in our town. 
"Kilbom's Bridge" was at the crossing of the most westerly 
brook, on that road, in our town. The meadow, through which 
the brook runs, is often called in the early records, "Worlds 
End Meadow," and the brook "Worlds End Brook." The 
brook is called by that name in the record of the "Newbury 
Survey" in 1729. We also learn where David Jones lived in 
1755. Evidently the good people of Springfield, in those early 
days, thought they were a long way from home, when they got 
out to "Worlds End Meadow." It is somewhat singular that 
four of the brooks we cross, as we go along Springfield Street 
westward, are the same brook, although the first one, west of 

76 The History of Wilbkaham 

Main Street, is only a branch which runs into "Pole Bridge 
Brook" before it reaches West Street, which street it crosses 
50 or 60 rods north of the " Tinkham Road," and continuing on 
westward 50 or 75 rods, turns to the northward and again crosses 
Springfield Street about one-fourth of a mile east of our west 
bounds. The brook continues on northerly, then westerly, 
then southerly tmtil it flows into the Watershops Pond. Some 
of us remember when there was a broad meadow where the 
pond now is, and when we drove through the brook there to 
water our teams. 

It seems, from the early records, that there were milestones 
set along the Bay Road to indicate the distance from Boston. 
I find this in the record of an alteration made in that road in 
1777. The surveyors, going eastward, mention a stone marked 
89 miles from Boston, and then say, " — ^just by Cornelius 
Webb's old Chimney about 2 rods north east of the stone 
marked 88 miles from Boston." It may not be known now, to 
all of our townsmen, that the Bay Road, after passing Nine 
Mile Pond, continued along easterly, crossing Main Street and 
continuing along what is now called Maple Street, past the 
Grace Church and on up the hill south easterly, to compara- 
tively level ground, where it again turned easterly, going on 
down the hill by a course which is quite plain to be traced today, 
and entering the present road a little west of "Eleven Mile 
Brook," [frequently called twelve mile brook]. 

As the time passed the agricultural products of the precinct 
were becoming more various and more abtindant ; the cultivated 
fields were growing broader and richer every year. The houses 
were more convenient and more comfortable. Still there was 
little which would gratify the tastes or supply what would now 
be called the necessaries of a comfortable home. Bare walls, 
bare floors, scant furniture, the oaken table and chest and pine 
"settle" were the chief adomings of the houses in those days, 
with perhaps a few exceptions. Among these was that of Ensign 
Abel Bliss, who, as tradition says, "did carry six bushels of salt 
on his back all at one time." As I have already said, he built 

The Histoby of Wilbhaham 77 

his log house on the west side of the mountain, or Ridge road, 
on an elevated portion of his farm, about 1736. At about the 
same time he set out an apple orchard. The difficulty of getting 
water on the elevated ground induced him to change his loca- 
tion to a place a little north, of the most northerly brook which 
crosses that road, and to its east side. He was a man of great 
energy, like so many of those early settlers, and erected a "tar- 
kiln ' ' on the ' ' river lot ," and is said to have gathered pine-knots 
and hearts, called candle- wood,. with which our great grand- 
fathers and great grandmothers illuminated their dwellings, in 
the south part of Ludlow and Belchertown, — it being forbidden 
to gather them but for lights in the precinct — and made two 
hundred barrels of tar, which he sold for, what would now be, 
five dollars a barrel, realizing one thousand dollars, and in 1744 
began to erect a large two-story house 32 x 40 feet. 

The plan was so pretentious that it is said the Rev. Noah 
Merrick, ascertaining what a grand mansion his parishioner 
was about to build, and perhaps fearing that his people were 
becoming inflated with worldly pride, thought it incumbent on 
him to check such tendencies at the beginning. So on a Sunday 
morning, he took for the text of his sermon the words, "Build 
not your house too high." Whereupon the rebuked Abel cut 
off the upright posts of his house seven inches; lowering the 
first story that much. The text in question caused a great 
rustling of Bible leaves throughout the parish, and there was 
much discussion as to where in the Holy Word the minister had 
found such a text. Finally some inquisitive person began to 
search the catechism, and the mystery was solved. The house 
is said to have been the first in this section to have square paiies 
of glass in the windows, all the others having diamond shaped 
panes. There is a quaint story in connection with this place 
which was told me, a few years ago, by a woman who was told 
the story by her grandmother, who was living near there at the 
time the incident happened. An Indian chief had brought his 
son there to be taught the white man's ways by the Bliss family, 
and instructed somewhat in book "laming." The family had 
a large dog named "Pomp" which was a great playmate for 

78 The History of Wilbraham 

the boys. One day the Indian boy was told to go out into the 
orchard and bring in some apples, from a particular tree, for 
baking. Every instinct of his nature, from his early training, 
rebelled at the thought of doing such "squaw's work." An 
hour or two passed and there were no apples brought. When 
remonstrated with by Mr. Bliss for his neglect to obey, he drew 
himself up to his full height and answered with great dignity, 
"Let Pomp pick up apples." Later in the day, when one of 
the girls, of the family asked him to show her where that par- 
ticular tree was, so that she might get some, he led her all 
around the orchard before bringing her to the right tree, which 
was not very far from the house. Taking his revenge in that 
way for the indignity put upon him. This place, now known as 
the "Speer Place," has been in the same family for about one 
hundred and seventy-seven years. It descended from Abel to 
his son Oliver, from Oliver to his son John, from John to his 
daughter Catherine Mary Ann Antoinette (Bliss) Speer. She 
told me once, that she thought she was named after all her 
aunts. She also told me she had heard her father say that 
when he was a boy, he went out to the Bay Road and was 
honored with a bow from General Washington, as the General 
was passing along the road on the way to Boston. General 
Washington,, writing in his diary about his passing along the 
Bay Road at that place says, "it was rough and rocky." 
Probably it was, on the part now abandoned. There are 
reports that the house was once a tavern, and that Washington 
spent a night there. But I do not think it was so. 

It is said in the Stebbins History that there were no inhabi- 
tants in the south part of the precinct, previous to 1741. In 
that year, Stephen Stebbins came from Longmeadow and 
settled on the west side of the main road to Somers, a few rods 
north of the Scantic, where Mortimer Pease now lives. Aaron 
Stebbins, his brother, built a little north of the present school- 
house near there. These were brothers of Samuel, who had 
settled some years before, as I have said, on the "Stebbins 

The History of Wilbeaham 79 

In the year 1743, Israel Kibbe of Somers, my great-great- 
grandfather [on my mother's side], purchased quite a piece of 
land near the southwest comer of the precinct, and in 1764 he 
sold that, with some more land, to his son, my great-grandfather, 
Gideon Kibbe, who Hved there about thirty years, when he 
moved to the Baptist District in East Longmeadow. 

About the year 1810 he built the house on the east side of our 
Main Street, now standing, about ten or fifteen rods north of 
Federal Lane (where Mr. Bryant now lives), for his son. Dr. 
Gideon Kibbe, who followed his profession here for almost 
fifty years, and is still remembered by some of our older resi- 
dents. He wished me to be a physician, and in 1853, when I 
was nine years old, he prevailed upon my mother [his niece], to 
allow me to come and live with him, and since then Wilbraham 
has been my home. The doctor's father was a lieutenant in two 
different regiments in the Revpltitionary War, and I have the 
powder horn which he carried, while in the service. It is finely 
ornamented with etchings, made I supjDOse With his Jack-knife, 
of several different designs, among which are the masonic 
emblems of the square and compasses, also the date "1776," 
and his initals, G. K., cut in the bottom. 

As we approach the close of the precinct period of our town, 
the record contains the account of the sad tragedy of the death 
of Lieutenant Mirrick's son. Faithful "Clark" Warner records 
as follows: 

"No. 84, Timothy Mirrick, the son of L' Thomas and Mary 
Mirrick was bit by a ratel snake on August the 7"', 1761, and 
died within about two or three ours, he being 22 years, two 
months and three days old and vary near the point of marridg." 
The place where this young man lived is now the most south- 
erly place in our town, on the Main Street, and is owned by 
Ethelbert Bliss. The meadow where he was mowing when 
bitten, is off to the southwest, some seventy to ninety rods 
from the home of Mr. Bliss [in 1863 the place was owned by 
Porter Cross] and the tragic spot can be plainly seen from 


The History of Wilbraham 

the Sessions homestead, about half a mile farther south, [now 
owned by Mr. Hayes]. 

About forty years ago, William V. Sessions, who was bom in 
1801, showed me the place, and said that the summer of 1761 
was very dry and it was supposed that the serpent had cotaie 
down from "Rattlesnake Peak," on the mountain, where there 
were known to be a few, to the meadow, in search of water. 
He also told me that a search for the snake was made the next 

Built in 1761 for the young man "vary near the point of marridg.' 

day, and it was found coiled up near the seythe of young 
Timothy, and was killed. 

The house which was being built fOr the young man, so near 
the "point of marridg" is still standing on the east side of the 
road and is occupied by Walter Bliss. The front is two stories 
high, but the rear has the long steeply pitched roof slanting 
down to quite near the ground, in old-time fashion. 

The History of Wilbeaham 81 

Extensive changes have been made in the looks of the house 
in the past year, by btiilding a piazza across the front. A poem 
was written on this sad event, which hasjiad a wide circtilation. 
In the Stebbins History it is called the great "Elegy of the 

There are many versions of this old ballad. I give the one 
printed in the Stebbins History. 


On Springfield moxmtains there did dwell 
A Ukely youth who was knowne full well 
Lieutenant Mirick onley sone 
A likely youth nigh twenty one 

One friday morning he did go 
in to the medow and did moe 
A round or two then he did feal 
A pisin sarpent at his heal 

When he received his dedly wond 
he dropt his sithe a pon the ground 
And strate for home wase his intent 
Caling aloude stil as he went 

tho all around his voys wase hered 
but none of his friends to him apiere 
they thot it wase sorne workmen calld 
and there poor Timothy alone must fall 

So soon his Carful father went 
to seak his son with discontent 
and there his fond onley son he fotmd 
ded as a stone a pon the ground 

And there he lay down sopose to rest 
with both his hands Acrost his brest 
his mouth and eyes Closed fast 
And there poor man he slept his last 

82 The History of Wilbraham 

his father vieude his track with great consam 
Where he had ran across the com 
tineven tracks where he did go 
did apear to stagger to and frow 

The seventh of August sixty one 

this fatal axsident was done 

Let this a warning be to all 

to be Prepared when God does call" 

This poem was read at a banquet in Springfield in May, 1886, 
and printed in the Springfield Republican June 6, 1886. It was 
again printed on Nov. 23, 1911, with an article written by 
Miss Evanore O. Beebe of our town, descriptive of the event, 
and the scenes surrounding it. This last insertion brought six 
or more letters to the Republican, one each from Salem, Mass., 
Greeley, Col., West Suffield, Conn., Bridgeport, Conn., Green- 
field, Mass., and Virginia City, Nev. 

The letter from Nevada is especially interesting, as it was 
written by the great-great-grandson of a brother of George 
Washington, and is as follows: 

"That 'Springfield Mountain' song got down into old Vir- 
ginia. It used to be sung to me by the negroes when I was a 
chUd. They used a sort of whining refrain that was most 
striking and amusing. This is what I remember of it: — 

"One dreadful day John went away 

For to help his father make the hay; 
When just as the horn blew for the noonday meal 

'A pisenous sarpient' bit him on the heel. 

"With a rigdum ski skinny drigdum rowe. 
(Chorus repeated several times) 

"Then MoUie, his sweetheart, came along and found John 
dying, and this is what she is supposed to have said: — 

" 'Oh, John! Oh, John, why did you go 

Down to the meadow for to mow?' 
' Oh, MoUie dear, I thought you knowed. 

It was father's hay and must be mowed.' " 

The History of Wilbbaham 83 

There was a version which I think was siing here at an "Old 
Folks' Concert," about forty-five years ago. It was sung as a 
solo, and all the troupe joined in the chorus. 

On Springfield mountain there did dwell 
A nice young man, I knew him well. 

Sing Tu-ri-lu ri-tu-ri-lay, 

Sing Tu-ri-lu ri-tu-ri-lay. 

On Monday morning he did go 
Down to the meadow for to mow, 


He scarce had mowed half rotmd the field, 
When a pesky sarpent bit his heel. 


He raised his scythe and struck a blow 
Which laid the pesky sarpent low. 


He took the sarpent in his hand 
And posted off to Molly Brand. 


"Oh, Johnny dear, why did you go 
Down to the meadow for to mow?" 


"Oh, Molly dear, I thought you knowed 
T'was fathers field and must be mowed." 


Now this young man gave up the ghost 
And did to Abraham's bosom post. 


84 The History of Wilbkaham 

And thus he cried as up he went, 
"Oh, pesky, cruel sar-pi-ent!" 


Now all young men a warning take. 
Beware of the bite of a great big snake." 


I think sometimes the chorus was : 

Singing tu-ral-li-lu-ral-li-lu-ral-li-lay. 
Singing tu-ral-li-lu-ral-li-lu-ral-li-lay . 

Altogether I have seen seven or eight versions of this famous 
ballad, generally written just as the writers remembered to 
have heard their grandfathers, or grandmothers sing, or repeat 
it, a good many years ago. 

In one of the versions there is still another touch of sadness, 
as follows: 

" Then Molly Bland she squatted down 
And sucked the pizen from the wound, 
But, O ! she had a rotten tooth. 
And the venom soon affected both." 

The name, or the residence, of the author of this famous 
poem are alike unknown. The Stebbins History says, that 
"Nathan Torrey has the honor of authorship, if any reliance 
can be placed upon the most direct and authentic tradition on 
the subject." The grave of the unfortunate young man is in 
the Deacon Adams Cemetery, near the easterly part of the 
older portion. His epitaph reads: — 

" Here lies ye body of 
Mr. Timothy Mirick 
Son of Lieut Thomas 
and Mrs. Mary Mirick 
Who died August 7"> 
1761 in ye 23"' year 
of his age 

"He Cometh forth like a flower and is cut down 
He fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not." 

The Histohy of Wilbhaham 


Present home of Walter Blisa. 

The military eclipsed the literary renown of this period. 
Capt. Samuel Day, Lieut. Thomas Merrick, and Ensign Abel 
Bliss were commissioned as officers before 1754; and for the 
French War, which raged during this period, 1755-1760, twenty- 
two men were enlisted from the fourth precinct as among the 
patriots of that early period. The names are all entered as from 
Springfield, but the following were probably from what is now 
Wilbraham: In 1755, for three months, John Langdon, Timothy 
Wright, Philip Lyon, William King, Jr.; in 1755, for eight 
months, Sergt. Daniel Cadwell, Sergt. Paul Langdon, Corp. 
Isaac Colton, Corp Aaron Bliss, Aaron Alvord, Aaron Warriner, 
Stephen Bliss, Jesse Warner, Aaron Parsons, Benjamin War- 
riner, Samuel Warner, Benjamin Wright. They were in the 
battle near the southern extremity of Lake George, with Baron 
Dieskau, and Lieutenant Burt of the company was killed; In 

86 The Histoby of Wilbkaham 

1759, Benoni Atchinson, Moses Bartlett, Thomas Dtinham, 
Paul Hitchcock, Samuel Warner, St., Samuel Warner, Jr., 
Moses Warriner. 

Samuel Warner, Sr., who is the so-called "Clark", Warner, 
kept a Journal of this expedition, which is still in existence and 
from which I will make a few extracts. He was in Capt. John 
Bancroft's Company, and Col. Timothy Ruggles's Regiment. 
I will commence with the brief account he gives of the trip from 
Albany to Fort Edward. 

"I now give an a Coumpt of our March from Albana to fort 
Edward. We loaded 19 Barrilsof flower and pork in a batoo and 
Carrid them within three miles of Stillwarter and there on 
Looded in the hull of otir Re^ment there was about 1100 B anils 
and then we went to Stillwarters and Looded 25 B anils in Each 
Battoo which made about 1400 and Carrid them up to about a 
mile above Sototoga and onloded the Same and then went 
about one mile and then Looded 22 Barrils which made 1300 
and Carrid them to the fott of the falls at fort miller onloded 
them there the Batops was caned about half a mile and the 
provision and then Looded againe 20 B arils 1150 and Carrid 
them to fort Edward this is a treu acount a varey hard voige 
we had. frey Day 8"" Day (June) this Day varey Clowday. 
Ran and Cold in the morning and afterwards more moderate 
and Sun Shine. Varey Cold att Night and just in the morning 
We had a varey grate Larrom by the polesy of the jeneral 
amhers[t] ordered a party of men att the falls to fier there guns 
att a marke varey Brisk on purpos to See what Readynes the 
armey wotdd Be in the armey was all Drawd up in arms. 

"Sabday 10* this day 6 o'clock the hilanders fierd one 
Round Distinct one after a nither and a fare plesant Day after- 
wards our soldiers went to Battooing onley saveing the quarter 
guard and a few that was not well. 

"Thosday 14"" This morning there was two Rodeisland 

men whipt for Desart one of them 500 the other 999 this day is 
the first prayer we heard at Night. 

"Saturday 16"" this Day there was one of the Conecticots 
Brought to place of Execution in order to be shot to Death for 
Desartion & after giving warning to others and then makeing 
of a prayer he was placst upon his Knees & his cap over his face 
Reseved a pardon yesterday and to day we Looded about 
300 Batoos and they was carrid to half way Boock and 100 

The History of Wilbraham 87 

" Monday 18"" this morning I was put under gard. 

"Tuesday 19 a Cort Marshil upon a young man and Rise 

& myself to-day for Nothin worth a menshing the young man 
Becas his gun went of upon half Bent and myself Becase I did 
not goo So quick and Call my sun when Sergeant Daniel Miller 
Bid me goo I Being upon other Duty the same time yet I went 
Not Withstanding But I had my dismisshon without any thing 
more said to me. 

"Thursday 21=' this Day we marcht from fort Edward with 
about ten Reigements we struck our tents about brake of Day 
slong our packs about Sun Rise and stood with y"" on a full ouer 
then marcht forward Nor onlooded Nor Rested till we got 
within five miles of Lake gorge there Rested about one ouer and 
half varey hot men allmost Beet out By going without vittuals 
in the morning about 500 teems and wagins the officers had no 
packs the general and other big officers had horsis and Servens 
they did not Consider the poor solders Had they Had any Com- 
passhoon upon poore Solders they wood not a dun as they Did 
one man Dyed By Reson of Such Hard traveling and Drinking 
of warter this was a Conectucut man and two or three more it 
was said they ware a Dying the armey was marcht of in the 
morning on a sudden and had not time to git any Refreshment 
to Carey with them But God in His providence has spared 
men's Lives & Carrid threw heathen to we shall not Dey Before 
our time. 

"Sabday 17"" there was a flagg of truse Came in to half way 
Bruck to see whether we had any prreasners to Exchang. 

"Tuesday 26 — — ^this Day order Came out in general that 
No solder should drink any warter without it Being Boild 
Except he had ginger in it. 

"Wensday 27 Benoney atchinson and Isaac Whittemore 

Come here to Day. 

"Sabday July 1=' Orders Came out that every one of us 

shoold fix a wooden fiint in his gun two Capt Came in this Day 
from the french 

"Munday 2^ about ten o'clock in the morning a partey 

of about 60 of the inemy fell on a party of the gersey Bleu and 
Kild 8 and scalpt them upon the Spot and wounded 3 more this 
was in full view of our armey a more protickular a compt there 
was 18 of the garsey bleu went to git Bare one the North of our 
Camps and thare was it was soposed about three or five score of 
the inemy got Between our men and the gard 

"Saturday 7"" I went about, the Element Hill on the North 
End of it there is a fort of 14 squares or turns in it made with 

88 The History of Wilbeaham 

wood and stoane and a Horspottal of Stoane the Length about 
8 Roods the wedth about Eighteen feet from out side to out 
side the thickness of the Wale two feet and J4 the hith about 
five feet. - 

"Sabday S"" three men Belonging to Co" Whiteens 

Ri"" Dyed in one Horspiteetel this Day was a Varey grate Day 
of Blooing of Rocks. 

"Munday Q"' ^We have the News of gen' Woolfs takeing 

of some strong place up Canaday River this Day there came in 
a party of the Indions under the command of Capt Jacob that 
went down the Lake some Days ago tis said the Indias fel on 
him & wounded y' Cap' and another of his men. I tuck more 
observation of Buldings and in sted of one Hospotitel there is 
three more all in a few Roods of one a nither one stoon two 
wood Housen. 

"Saterday 21='^ this day the armey marcht for ticonderoga 
they struck there tents about three o'clok in the morning and 
about sun rise the Bigest part of the armey got to the warter 
side they Borded three Batoos about Sun an ouer and half high 
and set of about twelve o'clock they ware out of sight and they 
Cep a going of all the Day afterwards 10-20-30 Batoos to a 
time till sun one ouer and J^ high att night then the Sloop set 
sail and att Sun Down she was about 15 miles of tis soposed to 
be 12000 men 15 morters 12.12 pounders 6.24 pounders of Brase 
3 18 pounders of Iron & a grate numbere of swivels this Day 
there is a grate morning among the Wiming as if they had Lost 
there Husboms 

"Thusday [August] 2^ this day 12 o'clock news came that 
crown point was Blown up By the french the truth I will 
waight for Esq Woodbridge says it is treu without fail and the 
french are a fortifying about ten or 15 miles Beyond. 

"Teusday V"" By the Reson of the Heat the Injineare and 
two or three more ware Carid from thare work to thare 
tents and I ware varey much put to it to keep upon my 

"Munday 2>^ [September] Rain the bigest part of the day 
and y^ co" said Dam it you shall work so we Did and it rained 
all night. 

, "Saterday 16"" about one o'clock had orders to march to 
crown point and about dark I sot of for the same with 30 men. 

"Sabday 16"^ morning we landed att tyconde Roga Before 
Sun Rise and then marcht Right of to crown point and got 
there Sun two ours high 

"Thosday P' [November] Last Night a Nimiber of men 

The History of Wilbhaham 89 

under gard for tempting to goo hum and to Day a member of 
the garsey Blews under gard but Dismist to Day. 

"Sabday 25"" [17 Days lost of the Journal] ground frose hard 
We marched to Davises fort and campt there. 

"Munday 26"" cold and snow and hold to while noon then 
Rain. We marched to Northfield and Lay there Capt putnam 
of Rode Island Dyed att 

"Teusday 27"' Cold Rainy Day I marcht from Northfield to 
Sunderland I logged at Carsons Warner's. 

"Wensday 28"' This Day fare and plesant morning and 
south winds varey raw afterwards I went from Sunderland to 
my one hous this day." 

The distance of the precinct from Springfield Street, the regu- 
larly increasing population, the different interests of the people, 
and their demonstrated capacity to administer affairs, prompted 
the inhabitants as early as January 16, 1749, "to chuse three 
men [David Mirick, Isaac Brewer and Nathaniel Warriner] a 
Committee to Represent the Precinct to the town of Springfield 
in taking some measures to get set off for a town in this fourth 
Precinct." The action of the town of Springfield was un- 
favorable to their cause; and they delayed further attempts till 
December 31, 1753, four years, when they again "voated to 
chuse a committee [Dea. Nathaniel Warriner, David Mirick' 
and L'. Sam" Day] to apply to the town of Springfield to see if 
they be willing we should be set of a District." Nothing seems 
to have come of this petition, for I find an article— on which, 
however no action seems to have been taken — ^inserted in the 
warrant for a meeting, January 1, 1760, "To chuse a Committee 
to apply to the town to set us of to be a District." Again 
January 1, 1761, it is "voted that Deacon Nath. Warriner, 
Daniel Warner, William King be a Com"' to apply to the 
Town for their Consent that we be set of a District;" and, in 
the following March 24, 1761, it is "voted that the same 
Com*'' which were Chosen to Apply to the Town to set us of a 
District be further Impowered to Apply to the General Court 
for a Confirmation of the same on the Precincts Cost and 

As obstacles rise, their courage rises. Failure inspires with 

90 The History of Wilbraham 

new resolutions. They determine to try what virtue there is in 
new men and more of them, the south part of the precinct com- 
ing to the rescue, and the next year, January 7, 1762, it is 
"Voted that John Bliss, William King, Daniel Cadwell, Stephen 
Stebbins and James Warriner be a Com*''= to apply to the 
Town for their Consent that we be set of a District or Town." 
Not much progress appears to have been made in softening the 
hearts and subduing the wills of the town, for on the following 
March 22, 1762, it is "Voted that Stephen Stebbins, James 
Warriner and Daniel Cadwell be a Committee to Apply to the 
Town and General Court, if need be, to see if they will sett of 
this Precinct a separate Town or District." These repeated 
petitions are evidently producing their effect, for once more, 
with renewed vigor, they vote, January 3, 1763, that "Dec" 
Nathaniel Warriner, L" Tho= Mirick and Stephen Stebbins be 
a Com'^^ in behalf of the Precinct to Apply to the Town of 
Springfield for their Consent to be Sett of a Separate Town or 
District, & that they be fully Impowerd to Persue our Petition 
to the General Court in Ord'' to be Sett of afores"* " 

This committee succeeded in their endeavors. Fourteen 
years after their first petition went to Springfield, delayed, 
defeated, but never subdued or discouraged, they at last 
wring, by their tireless importunity, a favorable answer to their 
prayer. Their petition was granted, and the Act of Incorpora- 
tion was signed by Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of the 
Province, June 15, 1763, — one hundred and fifty years ago, — 
by which act the fourth parish in Springfield was erected a 
separate town by the name of Wilbraham, and there were 
granted to the town all the privileges and immunities of other 
towns with the anomalous exception of the power of choosing 
a representative to the General Court; in this election, they 
must still unite with Springfield. 

The History of Wilbkaham 91 


ANNO REGNI /T herE IS THE ]^ " = « "* 


[In the third year of the reign of George the Third] 

An Act for incorporating the Fourth Parish of Springfield in 
the County of Hampshire into a separate Town by the name of 

Whereas the Inhabitants of the Fourth Parish in said Spring- 
field have represented to this Court that they labour imder 
great Inconveniences and Difificulties in attending on the 
Publick Affairs of the said Town, by reason of their great dis- 
tance from the usual Place where they are transacted etc : and 
that they are increased to such ntimbers that it may be fitting 
that they should be incorporated into a separate Town, and 
have accordingly petitioned this Court therefor — 

Be it therefore enacted by the Governor, Council and House of 
Representatives, That the said fourth Parish in said Springfield 
with the addition of half a mile West from the West line of Said 
Parish from Chicobee River on the North, to the northerly 
Line of the Township of Somers on the South be erected into a 
separate Town by the name of Wilbraham and that the inhabi- 
tants of said Town be invested with all the Powers and Privi- 
ledges that Towns in this Province enjoy by Law, that of send- 
ing a Representative to this Court only excepted. And that 
the said Town shall have fall Right and Liberty from Time to 
Time to join with said Town of Springfield in the choice of 
Representatives, to represent them at the General Assembly, 
And that the said Town of Wilbraham shall from Time to 
Time be at their Proportionable Part of the Expense of such 
Representatives, and the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of 
Wilbraham shall be notified of the Time and Place of Election 

92 The History of Wilbraham 

in like manner as the Inhabitants of said Springfield, by a 
warrant from the Selectmen of said Springfield, directed to tlje 
Constable of said Wilbraham, directing him to warn the In- 
habitants of said Wilbraham to attend the said meeting at the 
Time and Place therein assigned and that the Pay of said 
Representatives be borne by said Towns of Springfield and 
Wilbraham in the same Proportion from Time to Time as they 
pay to the Province Tax. And in order effectually to Prevent 
all future Dispute that might otherwise arise between the said 
Towns of Springfield and Wilbraham respecting their joint 
Interests or joint Duties; 

Be it Enacted, That the said Town of Wilbraham shall enjoy 
the two Ministry and School Lots in said Town, in full Satisfac- 
tion of their Share in the Ministry and School Lands in said 
Town of Springfield, and of the Money and Debts due to said 
Town : That they pay their due Proportion of the Town Debts 
already contracted, and have their due Proportion of the Town 
Stock of Ammunition: That they pay to the Support of the 
present Poor of said Town of Springfield (now supported at the 
Town Charge) Eleven Pounds in One Hundred so long as they 
shall Continue a Charge to said Town'; and that this Act shall 
not be construed to hinder or prevent any Persons, Inhabi- 
tants of said Springfield from Cutting Timber or Taking 
Herbage or Stone on any of the Lands in said Wilbraham so 
long as they remain unfenced, any more than if this Act had 
not been made. 

And he it further Enacted, That John Worthington, Esq. be 
and hereby is empowered and directed to issue his Warrant 
directed to some principal Inhabitant of said Wilbraham 
requiring him to warn the Inhabitants of said Town qualified 
to vote in Town affairs to assemble at some suitable Time and 
Place in said Town, to choose such Officers as may be necessary 
to manage the affairs of said Town, which at such meeting 
they are hereby empowered to choose. 

Provided, nevertheless, the Inhabitants of said Wilbraham 
shall pay their proportional Part of all such Province and 
County Taxes as are already set upon them by the said Town of 

The History of Wilbraham 93 

Springfield in like manner as tho' this Act had not been 

And be it further Enacted, That of the sum set on the Town 
of Springfield as their Proportion with other Towns in a Tax of 
one Thousand Pounds, for the future of the said Town of Spring- 
field, shall retain the sum of Eleven Poimds two Shilliags and 
ten Pence two Farthings; and that there be set on the said 
Town of Wilbraham the sum of one Pound thirteen Shillings 
and six Pence as their Rate or Proportion for their Payment of 
publick Taxes. ^ 

June 14"" 1763 — This Bill having been read three several 
Times in the House of Representatives — Passed to be enacted. 


June 14"" 1763 — This Bill having been read three several 
Times in Council — 
Passed to be Enacted. 

A. Oliver Secy 
June 15'" 1763— By the Governor 
I consent to the enacting of this Bill. 

Fra Bernard 

In his address in 1831, speaking of the incorporation of the 
town, Dr. S. F. Merrick says; "In 1763 the parish was incor- 
porated into a town by the name of Wilbraham, the name was 
very grevious to us and we are hardly reconciled to it yet." It 
seems strange that a name should have been selected, that was 
"very grevious" to the people of the town. 

The Stebbins History says, "The town appears to have 
received its name either from an English Baronet of the name 
of Wilbraham or from the Parish called Wilbraham, situated 
near Cambridge in England. — Sir Thomas Wilbraham died in 
1692. — If the people of Wilbraham supposed their town was 
named for this bitter royalist and anti-Puritan, it may account 
for their dissatisfaction." 

"But there is another way of accotmting for the name. 
Wilburgham, or Wilbraham, as the modern spelling is, is a 
parish or town in the hundred of Staine, County of Cambridge, 

94 The Histohy of Wilbraham 

seven miles from Cambridge, northeasterly. There are two 
villages, 'Wilbraham Great,' and 'Wilbraham Little.' — 
"Rowland Stebbins, the ancestor of the Stebbinses, and William 
Pynchon, the ancestor of the Pynchons, and the original pro- 
prietor of Springfield, originated in the near neighborhood of 
these Wilbrahams, and came from near them to this country." 
It is very probable that through the influence of the descendants 
of Stebbins and Pynchon, the name Wilbraham may have been 
selected for this town." In a History of New England, pub- 
lished in 1879, I find the following relating to the meaning of 
the name: "The inhabitants of Wilbraham, at the time of its 
incorporation, objected strenuously, but vainly, to the name 
attached to them, which has the significance of 'Wild Boar's 

There are a few persons in this country with that name. 
And several years ago there was a firm in Philadelphia, Pa., 
dealing in carriage makers' supplies, of the name of "Wilbra- 
ham Bros." Sometime ago, as I have been told, there was a 
student here at the Academy, of that name. One day, soon 
after his arrival, he rushed into the post office, at the time of 
the distribution of the morning mail and cried out, "Any 
letters for 'Wilbraham' to-day?" The postmaster thought he 
was acting a little "fresh," and answered, "Well! I should say 
there was." But as he did not pass out any, the young man 
soon explained that Wilbraham was his name. 

Today, one hundred and fifty years after the incorporation 
of the town, we have no feeling of resentment against the anti- 
Puritan Baronet, "Sir Thomas Wilbraham;" we have a kindly 
feeling towards "Wilbraham Great," and "Wilbraham Little," 
of Old England; we can afford to laugh at the supposed mean- 
ing, "Wild Boar's Home," and we are all glad that the name of 
our dear old town is WILBRAHAM. 

About fifteen years ago, while in a southern state, I was 
telephoning a message to the central office, to be sent by tele- 
graph to this town. A negro was taking the message and when 
that was finished, I told him over the telephone that I wanted 
to be sure that he had the name of the town right, as there were 

The History of Wilbraham 93 

other towns in Massachusetts with somewhat similar names, 
and I mentioned Williamstown and Williamsburg. "Yes sir," 
he said, " I think I have it right; Wil-bra-ham, not A-bra-ham." 
I told him that he had it right. 

The territory of the precinct was enlarged, in the act of 
incorporation, by the addition of a strip of land on the west 
side, from the "inner commons," half a mile wide, extending 
from the Chicopee River to the Connecticut line. In 1780, 
when the line of Connecticut was accurately surveyed, there 
fell to our portion another strip of land, called the "Oblong" 
or "Wales," about a mile in width at one end, and three-quarters 
of a mile at the other, across the whole width of the town. And 
finally, to render any further allusion to the territory of the 
town unnecessary, I will add that, in 1799, thirty-six years 
after the town was incorporated, that portion of the first 
division of the "outward commons of Springfield," which lay 
on the east side of Chicopee River, now called the "Elbows," 
then "Kingsfield or Kingstown," on the north side of the Bay 
Road, was added to the town. By these additions, the town 
was made four and a half miles wide, as far north as its western 
line extended. Its length, on the west side, was eight miles and 
one hundred and fifty-two rods; and on its eastern side its 
length was ten miles and one hundred and thirty rods. 

But some of the early settlers had gone, and enjoyed not the 
ripe clusters of their hopes and labors. A few had left the pre- 
cinct. Of the pioneers, David Merrick, Abel Bliss, Samuel 
Stebbins, and Paul Langdon, had died. There had been births 
to rejoice and deaths to grieve thein during this period. Infancy 
and manhood went down to the grave, and the "grave-yard," 
which they had raised many pounds to keep "decent," was 
becoming the sacred treasury of many of their dear ones. 
There had been eighty-eight deaths since the settlement, three 
before the incorporation of the precinct. There had been also 
three hundred and twenty-five births, and if we include those 
bom in the half-mile added from the "inner commons" and in 
the strip called Wales, annexed to the south end of the town, 
there had been three hundred and sixty-six births. The popu- 

96 The History of Wilbraham 

lation of the town at the time of incorporation, June 15, 1763, 
could not have varied much from four hundred and fifty or 
five hundred persons. 

The population of Wilbraham as given by the state census 
was as follows: 

year, 1765— 491 
" 1776—1057 
" 1790—1555 
" 1800—1743 

The first warrant for a town meeting was issued by John 
Worthington, Esq., of Springfield, to Stephen Stebbins, of 
Wilbraham, Yeoman, bearing date August 8, 1763, requiring 
him "to warn the Inhabitants of Said Town of Wilbraham 
Quallifyed by law to vote in Town affairs that [they] meet and 
Assemble together at the Meeting House in S"* Wilbraham on 
Thursday the Twenty-first Day of Aug' Currant At one of the 
Clock in the afternoon Then and there to Choose a Moderator 
to preside and Conduct the Said Meeting — and then to Choose 
all such Town Officers as may be Necessary to Manage the 
affairs of Said Town and Towns in this Province are by law 
Oblige to Choose." "Stephen Stebbins, YeOman, failed not" 
to "warn" the people, nor were the people slow to hear and 
obey the warning. They "assembled and met together" as 
required, August 25, 1763, and it was "Voted that L' Thom' 
Mirick Shoiild be Moderator for S"* Meeting. Voted that 
Ezra Barker [he who was called Master Barker] Should be 
Clerk for Said Town." The meeting then adjourned to one 
o'clock the next day to give the "Clerk" opportunity to go to 
Springfield to be sworn, for there was no Justice of the Peace in 
Wilbraham in those days. ' ' Josiah D wight Jus' Peace ' ' certifies 
that Ezra Barker "took the Oath Respecting the Bills of the 
other Goverrmient and the Same Time the Oath of Office as a 
Clerk for Said Town of Wilbraham." Barker hastens back to 
town meeting at one o'clock, when the rest of the town officers 
are duly chosen: "Selectmen, Treasurer, Constables, Assessors, 
Tithing Men, Surveyors of Highways, Fence Viewers, Dear 
Reavers, Sealers of Leather, Hogg Reaves, Wardens, Surveyor 

The History of Wilbraham 97 

of Shingles, Claboards, &c., Surveyors of Wheat." There is no 
tradition that there had been any caucusing previously to the 
meeting, but there was some sly waggery among these grand- 
fathers of ours on town-meeting day. It is recorded by Ezra, 
the Clerk, that "Serg' Moses Burt & W" Stacy Hogg Reaves 
(were) not Sworn at This Time being absent." Four days after, 
the honest clerk records that "Serg' Moses Burt and W"" Stacy 
Refus"* taking their oath of Office, They being chosen Hogg 

Three- officers are named here whose duties ceased long since 
and of which the younger portion of this assembly require an 
explanation. The "Warden's" duty was to see that no tres- 
passes were made on the common lands, by destrojdng the 
timber, and carrying off valuable property for private uses con- 
trary to law. The "Dear Reaves" were to see that deer were 
not hunted and taken at unsuitable seasons of the year. The 
"Tithing Men" were to see that the Sunday laws were obeyed, 
and especially that frisky boys and girls in the galleries at the 
meeting house should restrain their playfulness and dumb 
telegraphing to each other while the sacred services continued. 
The latter was a task requiring ceaseless vigilance, and often 
was regarded as "labor spent for naught and in vain." 

The town is now organized. Money must be raised and 
appropriated for highways, schools, the poor, and the ministry. 
We may well arrange our survey of this period under the three 
general heads of Municipal, Ecclesiastical, and Revolutionary 
History. At the second meeting, held December 1, 1763, the 
first money was raised and appropriated: for the "Support of 
Schooling," £ 15; for Mr. Merrick's salary, £ 51, 2 s.; for the 
support of the poor, £ 2, 5 s.; for fines, 15 s. ; pound, £ 2; 
service of bulls, £ 3, 10 s. ; contingent charges, £ 1; in all, 
£ 76, 2 s. The first money appropriated, be it known, and let it 
be borne in everlasting remembrance, was for the "Support of 
Schooling," an indication not to be mistaken of the value set by 
our fathers upon education. The sum is small, it is true, but 
they were poor, their harvests were scanty, their families large, 
and they were still struggling for the common comforts of life. 

98 The History of Wilbhaham 

At the next meeting, January 3, 1764, a committee of five is 
chosen to divide the "Town into Districts for Schools;" and 
it is voted "that the said Committee Should Divide the Money 
Granted at this meeting for the use of Schooling in This Town 
and Proportion the same Equally to each District when Divided 
in method following, viz: one-half of said mOney to be Divided 
upon Poles and Estates and the other half to be Divided upon 
Children from 4 to 12 years of age." Though these districts 
were laid out in 1764 I find no record of their number or 
boundaries till 1775, when the old districts were remodelled and 
ten districts were formed, and the same year the tovro raised 
about one hundred and twenty-six dollars for schools, which 
would give to each district only the poor pittance of twelve 
dollars and sixty cents for the support of a school. The whole 
amount of money raised for schools to 1774, ten years from the 
incorporation of the town, was £ 217, an average of a little over 
£21 a year, or about $70. The two "School lots," which were 
assigned for the support of schools in the allotment of 1684, and 
also the share of Mr. Clark, who left the county and gave his 
land for the support of schools, were sold after very much 
difficulty and hesitation on the part of the town and of buyers. 
The income from this fund was added to the sum which the 
town raised. But one schoolhouse was buUt in town during this 
period. It was on the mountain, on the east side of the Ridge 
Road and north of the most northerly road that leads over to 
East Street; very near the site of the present schoolhouse in 
District No. 5, and was erected at the expense of that school 
district. There were then but two schoolhouses in the town, 
this and the one which stood, as early as 1754, nearly opposite 
the site of the present Congregational Church in the north 
parish. The schools were kept in the rooms of private houses, 
and not seldom were taught by the farmers who could read and 
write a little. There were three celebrated teachers, however, — ■ 
Master Barker in the north part of the town, and Masters 
Moses and Enos Stebbins in the south part. The ' ' lesser lights ' ' 
of knowledge were few and dim. Dillworth's Spelling-Book 
and the Psalter, and later Webster's Spelling-Book and Third 

The Histoey of Wilbraham 99 

Part were the books used for reading and spelling; Hodder's 
and Root's Arithmetic for ciphering, when any scholar ventured 
upon that dark art. The master only had an arithmetic and 
the svims were given out to the scholar and written down; he 
"did" them at his leisure. No slates were used till after this 
period; ink and paper, coal and board, nail and birch-bark 
were the mathematical apparatus. The knowledge communi- 
cated was very meagre, children rarely attending school after 
twelve years of age, if the limit in the division of the school 
money enables us to determine. 

The ecclesiastical affairs of the town went on by no means 
smoothly. The south part of the town was increasing rapidly 
in population, both by births and immigrations, and was not 
disposed to aid in repairing the meeting house, or building new 
pews in it; and not seldom the controversies were sharp and 
long on these topics. Once at least as a compromise, persons 
were permitted to build pews at their own cost. 

The method of "seating" the meeting house was productive 
of more and more dissatisfaction, the doings of the "seating 
committee" being sometimes wholly rejected, and very often, 
almost always, amended. 

"The proverbial difficulty of managing singing, and especially 
singers, was felt most keenly and treated most unwisely. It is 
evident that the 'rising generation,' our great-grandfathers, 
were weary of the 'leadmg' of good Deacon Warriner, who had 
now, from the 'deacon's seat' under the pulpit, raised the 
pitch, and literally led the singing for over twenty years. The 
people generally felt that there was fulfilled among them the 
prophecy of the Prophet Amos, ' The songs of the temple shall 
be turned into bowlings.' Singing masters had made their way 
to the new town. New music came with them. The old tunes 
were laid aside. Strange feats of voice and limb were per- 
formed by mouth and arm when the new singers came into the 
seats in the gallery. The congregation cotdd not sing. The 
poor deacon's voice was silent. Great were the ' searcHngs of 
heart' among the ancients. Most tmfortunately of all, the 
town took the matter in hand. 

"The wisdom of the fathers forsook them. The flames burned 
all the more fiercely for being fanned. The second article in 

100 The History of Wilbbaham 

the warrant for town-meeting, September 24, 1770, was ' To see 
whether they will come into some method or agreement for 
more Regular Canying on the Singing in the Public worship in 
this town than it is at the present time;' and the third, 'To see 
whether the Town will be willing to sing four Times in the 
Publick worship on the Sabbath for the future.' It is pretty 
evident that this movement originated with the new singers. 
They appear to be ambitious to excel in quantity as well as 

"There seems to have been no opposition worthy of record to 
choosing the committee asked for, and ten men were chosen 
'to be a Com., to take into consideration the Broken state of 
this Town with regard to Singing in the Publick Assembly on 
Sabbath Days, arid to constilt together and agree upon some 
Plan or Method whereby to encourage & promote regular and 
Universal Singing in said assembly, & make report thereof to 
this or some future meeting.' On the 22d of October, at the 
adjourned meeting, the committee of ten, Nathaniel Warriner, 
John Bliss, Thomas Mirick, Moses Stebbins, WilUam King, 
Ezra Barker, Daniel Cadwell, John Jones, Eliezer Smith and 
Phineas Newton, make an elaborate report covering two pages 
of the book of records in Master Barker's best handwriting, in 
which a hst of twenty-three tunes, — 'called Low Dutch, 
Windsor, Old lOOd, New lOOd, Stroudwater, Meer, Buckland, 
Broomsgrove, Bangor, St. Martin's, Wairwick, St. Hellens, All- 
Saints, Little Marlborough, Cambridge, Portsmouth, South- 
well, Quercy, Worksop, Wantage, Standish, New York and 149 
Psalm Tune,' — is given, which 'shall be made use of in the 
Publick worship of God in this town ;' this ' List is to be trans- 
mitted to Mr. Morgan (now singing-master in this Town) in 
order that, he may Teach or Instruct his schollars to Sing them 
according to Rule.' No other tunes are to be introduced with- 
out 'consent.' 'Dea" Nath'l Warriner is to give the lead in 
singing on the forenoons on each Sabbath & one of the Young 
Men lately Instructed by Mr. Stickney (as they shall agree 
among themselves) give the lead in singing in the afternoon of 
each Sabbath for the space of three months from the Date 
hereof, excepting when Mr. Morgan is present, then it is ex- 
pected he will carry the singing.' They also report 'that all 
who Assist in Singing Shall be at their pleasure either to Stand 
or Sit when Singing without giving Offence to any; that the 
singers lately Instructed by Mr. Stickney who are seated ia the 
Gallery of the Meeting House are at their Liberty to make a 
decent and orderly Exchange of Seats as They Shall agree 

The History of Wilbeaham 101 

among themselves and so to Set for the Space of Three Months 
from the Date hereof and no longer, or else to continue to Set as 
they were last Seated;' and '6 thly' and lastly, 'that whoever 
shall lead in the singing shall be at Liberty to Use the Motion of 
his hand while singing for the Space of Three Months from the 
Date hereof or a shorter Space as need shall require." Thus far 
'the committee' 'propose to be tryed by vote.' The com- 
mittee then recommend, that ' as the Beating with the hand in 
the Congregation when singing is offensive to some it be laid 
aside as quick as may be and confrae the same to the school only ; 
that all in the Town whose voices will admit of it speedily use 
proper means to get themselves acquainted with the art of Sing- 
ing Ruleably & well, — ^in the mean time' they 'recommend to 
all both old and Young to Join in Singing in the Worshiping 
assembly and to sing as well as they can; and lastly,' say they, 
' we cannot but recommend to ourselves & others to studdy the 
Things which make for peace, and the things where by we may 
Edify one another.' 

"The town voted what the committee recommended. But it 
is evident that the flames were not to be quenched by any such 
appliances. 'Three months' grace and 'no longer 'is given to 
'Beating with the hand' and occupying 'exchanged seats' if 
they can agree to exchange which is very doubtful. The con- 
gregation are all to ' sing, as well as they can ' it is true, but to 
' Join in Singing ' at any rate. The Stickneyites in the ' Gal- 
lery' would hardly be satisfied. The compromise is like 
Nebuchadnezzar's image, gold in the head, but ' clay and iron ' 
in the legs and feet. So it turns out, as the ' three months ' are 
expiring, that an article is inserted in the warrant, January 7, 
1771, 'to pass any votes in further addition' to those before 
passed 'as the Town Shall think proper by further lengthening 
the Time of the Present Mode of Singing.' This article came 
from the 'Gallery' party evidently. It is followed by another 
which came from the 'deacon's seat,' as evidently. Hear it: 
'to make Inquiry into the conduct of those who call themselves 
the singers in this Town, and see wheather they have conducted 
or proceeded agreeable to the report of the Town's Com'", and 
the Town's vote thereupon at our last meeting and pass such 
Vote or Votes as shall be thought Necessary in consequence 
thereof.' Greek has now met Greek. At the meeting it is 
voted, 'That Dea" Nath' Warriner Shall continue to set the 
Psalm as Usual During the Town's Pleasure; also that Moses 
Warriner and Jonathan Bliss do the same.' "The 'young men' 
are voted down ; the ' Galleries ' are in a minority ; so it would 

102 The Histobt of Wilbeaham 

seem. But there is abundant life in yoimg blood, and rallying 
their strength, ' a motion was made whether the singing should 
be performed in the congregation according to the late mode by 
Beating with the hand,' etc. ; it being put, and the House being 
Divided it passed in the affirmative, 25 against about 19. The 
'Deacon's Seat' now loses, but does not yield; for 'a motion 
was made ' to Deside it by the Town List or by Lawful Voters, 
and after some debate it was thrown by and the following vote 
passed, namely, 'Voted that the Rev. Mr. Mirick be Desired to 
call a Society meeting in order to come into some method of 
Reconciliation with regard to Singing in the Publick worship.' 
They adjourn; and no more is recorded or known of the result. 
Poor Mr. Merrick had cares enough of another kind, as we shall 
soon see, without being dragged into this controversy about the 
singing. Thus ended the great struggle of the town respecting 
the method of ' Carrying on the Singing in the Public Worship 
of God.' I have dwelt upon it at greater length than the sub- 
ject itself deserved, because it is a good illustration of the 
attempts of our ancestors to regulate minute affairs by town 
action. Let us learn wisdom from their mistakes." 

Another and much graver difficulty called for all the wisdom 
and patience of the town. The conditions of the "Worthy Mr. 
Mirick's" settlement were of such a kind as to render it more 
and more difficult to fulfill them. Every year a Committee con- 
ferred with him and agreed upon the price of commodities : and 
then there was the use of the "Ministry land" whose income he 
was to have, and whose leasing and renting and care were a great 
annoyance. More than all, I think Mr. Merrick was as good a 
farmer as preacher, and that his thrift on the "Overplus Land" 
given to him as a settlement, was not a small occasion of delay 
and dislike in paying his salary. A good farm is a dangerous 
thing for a minister to own among farmers. His thrift is all 
open to view and begets envy. Mr. Merrick had a family of 
promising boys now entering upon manhood, some already 
arrived at it, and two negroes to aid in the field and one in the 
house, giving him an appearance of abundance and increasing 
riches. The town were not disposed to aid any more than they 
could help in "multiplying his prosperity." 

As early as January 7, 1771, a movement is made to give up 

The History of Wilbhaham 103 

the attempt to settle the salary on the prices of " Sundry Species 
of Commoditys," and the sum of "Fifty one Pounds Ten 
Shillings, lawful Money of this Province" is voted by the town 
and accepted by Mr. Merrick instead, and papers were ex- 
changed between the parties, January 6, 1772. It is also agreed 
that the "Ministry Land" shall be sold, on condition that £ 6 
be added annually to Mr. Merrick's salary, and the sale is made 
and bonds are given amounting to £ 348, 13 s. 5 d. or $1162.20, 
the interest on which is to be paid annually for the support of 

Mr. Merrick's health failed in 1772, and diffictilties, in addi- 
tion to all the others, of a serious nature arose about supplying 
the pulpit and paying his salary while he was sick. Matters 
came to a crisis July 14, 1775, and the town not only refused to 
raise Mr. Merrick's sal^y, but, after hearing read a very frank 
statement made by him of his sickness and offering to relinquish 
five pounds out of his salary for the current year in case the 
town shotild "Employ Some Learned Licenced Preacher for 
three months next ensuing" and in the "same proportion" for 
"every three months thereafter in case" he "should not be able 
to supply the pulpit before the Expiration of Said Term," and 
provided also that he "should be paid the remaining part" of 
his "salary according to" their "agreement," yet after a "Long 
Debate a motion was made and Seconded to Dismiss Mr. 
Mirick;" then "voted to Dismiss Mr. Mirick from the Gospel 
Ministry upon his being willing;" then "voted to adjourn to 
the 4th day of September next." At that meeting "Mr. 
Mirick's answer was read" again "and not excepted by the 
town." The committee of conference is enlarged and are 
directed to "Wait on Mr. Mirick again and see if their Grievance 
could not be removed." They "weighted on Mr. Mirick with 
two votes passed" and received the following answer: — 

"To the Inhabitants of Wilbraham in Town Meeting as- 
sembled, Friends and Neighbours: Considering my bodily 
Infirmity and Difificulty of Supplying the Pulpit Steadily for 
the present, I hereby engage (provided you accept of it) to 

104 The History of Wilbraham 

relinqttish out of my annual salary Eight Shillings per Day for 
as many Sabbaths as you shall be obliged to hier a preacher on 
account of my failing through inability. S"* Engagement to 
continue one year from date hereof & no longer — ^if my Life 
should be continued so Long. 

Yours, N. Merrick 
Wilbraham September 4, 1775." 

This answer was read in "a very full Town meeting & not 
Excepted." They vote "to chuse another committee to draw 
up a List of Grievances and Lay them before Mr. Mirick & agree 
with him to Call in Sister Churches; then after a Long Debate," 
says the town clerk "there was no Committee chose." The old 
committee was directed "to wait on the Rev"* Mr. Mirick to 
Know if he will ask for and Receive an Honorable Dismission 
from the work of the Ministry in this town and unite with the 
town in Calling a Council for that purpose — further voted as 
the opinion of this town that a Minister has no Right to any 
Salery or maintenance as a Minister any Longer than he per- 
forms the work of a Minister." The clerk adds, "N. B. the 
above votes past by a very grate majority then the meeting 

For the next two years the same subject came up at several 
town meetings, at one of which, March 28, 1776 "Voted and 
Dismist the Rev"* Mr. Mirick from the work of the Ministry in 
this town." At a meeting held about two months later. May 
20, 1776, the vote to dismiss Mr. Merrick was Reconsidered 
made nul and void." 

"There is yet hope of a safe and honorable deliverance. They 
wait therefore, with worthy solicitude, the action of the meet- 
ing, Jvily 2'^- A new committee of five persons is chosen to 
"wait on the Rev^ Mr. Merrick and ask what his demands are 
on the town;' and it appears that his reply was, 'What the 
town owes me' for they put themselves right in the case by 
further voting all Mr. Merrick's ' Sallary to the 28 Day of Last 
June that has not been granted heretofore.' 

"The wisdom of the fathers is returning. They choose a com- 
mittee to hire preaching, for Mr. Merrick is too infirm to per- 

The History of Wilbraham 105 

form 'the work of the Ministry,' and another committee 'to 
wait on our Rev'' pasture to make a final settlement with him 
and report at this or some future meeting.' They adjourned to 
September 2'^; met and adjourned to October, 'and but four 
persons met no meeting could be opened so the meeting Conci- 
quently Disolved of it self.' Mr. Merrick's health was stUl 
declining and a committee was chosen to supply the pulpit for 
six months, at a special meeting held in September. In Novem- 
ber there is ah article in the warrant to see if the 'town will 
unite with the church and chuse a Council to dismis our Rev^ 
pasture agreeable to the Late result of the Rev"" Council & 
chuse a Com"*= for that purpos.' The meeting met and 
adjourned to December 9, when no vote was passed respecting 
calling a coimcil, but Capt. John Shaw, Mr. Moses Stebbins, & 
L' Noah Stebbins were chosen a ' Com'"= to wait on Mr. Mirick 
with a coppy of the Last Grant made him of his Sallary and see 
if he will accept and be content therewith and give a Discharge 
from any further Clame on the Town by way of Sallary and 
tnake a Reporte at some futer meeting.' 

"This is the last recorded action in this protracted and painful 
transaction. The 'Worthy' Mr. Merrick was rapidly sinking 
to his grave ; going to his reward. He died December 22, 1776, 
aged sixty-six years, after-a ministry of thirty-five years and six 

Mrs. Abigail Merrick, his wife, survived him thirty-one 
years, and died September 12, 1807, in the ninety-eighth year 
of her age. The final settlement with the heirs of Mr. 
Merrick was not made till 1784, eight years after his death. 
The town then "Granted to the heirs of the Rev"* Noah Mirick 
what was Due to him for his Salary & what was Due by the sale 
of the ministry land included the sum [of] £ 48, 15 s. 1 d. 2 f." 

"He was born August 6, 1711, and graduated at Yale College 
in 1731, the son of James, who was the son of Thomas Merrick, 
who came from Wales and settled in Springfield 1636. He was 
a good scholar and preacher for his time, very methodical in his 
habits, exact in all his ways and punctual in the performance of 
every duty. Saturday was his preparation day for the solemn 
duties of the Sabbath. At an early hour he retired to his study, 
and no one was permitted to interrupt him. His meals were 
carried to his room, and he did not appear in his family till 
Sunday morning. He was an Arminian in his opinions, if 


The History of Wilbhaham 

universal tradition can be relied upon, and it is not improbable 
that this may have had some influence in breeding disaflEection 
at last in the town and church. The church book shows the 
usual amount of success in the ministry. One hundred and 
seventy-two joined the church, one hundred and three owned 
the covenant, and six hundred and four were baptized, and 
thirteen were dismissed to other churches. Cases of Discipline 
never resulted in expulsion, or if so, no record is made of the 
fact. Mr. Merrick's labors were not disturbed by th» con- 
troversies of intrusive sectaries till near their close, when the 
Baptists appeared in the northeast part of the town, organized 
a society in 1768, and Rev. Seth Clark was settled in 1770. No 
serious collision appears to have arisen between the churches, 
however, and the harmony of the town seems not to have been 
disturbed. One lesson, at least, we may learn from this long 
struggle: there was trouble among the fathers not less than 
among us in their ecclesiastical affairs, and no one who reads 
their records attentively can sigh for the old ways and the times 
of the fathers." 

The following are a few entries copied from the accoimt book 
of Rev. Noah Merrick. They may throw some light on con- 
ditions of that time. The book is how in possession of his 
great-great-grandson, Charles S. Merrick, of our town. 




1744. Oct. 9. To Jas. Ball his right to ye overplus land 


" " " David Cooley " " " 


" " 13 y^ Committee for laying out my lot 



" "22 Rachel, Negro, for work 



1746 " 7 To Shelvan, Negro, some toabcco 



1747 Jan. To Mr. Brecks Negro 4 lbs tobacco 


" Feb. To Mr. Breck toward a Negro 


" Mar.23 To " " in part for a Negro. 


" June To my Father's Negro 3}^ lb tobacco at }4 



" Oct. To S. Palmer, pr shoes for my wife and child and 

mending my Negros. 



" Dec. 25 To Mr. Breck in part for a Negro . 


" " " To E. Pynchon recording a marriage 


1748 Mar. 7 To my Negro 2 lb flax a 31 pr 


" Apr. 15 To Rev. Mr. Breck in part for a Negro 


" June " " '■ 


" Aug. 29 To My Negro 


" Sept. 9 To Mr. E. Pynchon recording a marriage 


The History of Wilbhaham 



1749 Jan. 20 To Sheba Burt for cutting out a great coat 

for my Negro 
1749 Feb. To E. Pynchon recording a marriage 
" Apr. To Capt. Stebbins Recording Returns of ye 

1749 Apr. 13 Mr. Breck for 6 sheep 

1750 Aug. 30 To my Negro 

1751 July To Capt. Pynchon recording a deed 

" Sept. To Aaron Stebbins Jun'' his head of hair at 

' ' Nov. 12 To Edward Pynchon recording a marriage 2-6 

" birth h 3 

1752 To Master Barker schooling 

From the death of Mr. Merrick in 1776, there was no settled 
minister in the north part of the town till 1787, a period of 
eleven years. But the people in the south part of the town had 
so rapidly increased that, as early as 1765, they made applica- 
tion to the town for money to support preaching among them in 
the winter, which was promptly refused. At the December 
meeting, 1767, the town refused the "Southpart" the privilege 
of having "Two Months Preaching in the Winter Season upon 
there own cost." Such a vote would not conciliate the Stebbinses 
and Langdons and Morrises and Chaffees. They rally in 1772, 
and ask to be set off as a town, but are voted down summarily. 
In 1778, after a struggle at several adjourned meetings, and the 
report of a committee, they vote to divide the town into "two 
parishes;" but it was afterwards reconsidered. In 1780, they 
again xorge their claim to be a parish upon both town and 
General Court, and press it with vigor till at last they gain 
their object, and are set off as a parish, Jtme 11, 1782. The 
line between the parishes from Springfield to Monson was 
on the south side of David Bliss's farm, those adjoining 
the line being permitted to choose whichever parish they 

Near the close of this period, January 10, 1780, Deacon 
Nathaniel Warriner, one of the first four settlers of the town 

108 The History of Wilbraham 

died, in the seventy-seventh year of his age. He was called to 
the most important offices of trust in both precinct and town. 
Besides the important office which he held in the church from 
the very beginning, and to which he gave a "full sacramental 
fiimiture," he was moderator of many of the precinct meetings, 
sharing the honor with Thomas Merrick, and almpst exclusively 
moderator of town meetings for seven years to 1770, when John 
Bliss of the south part appears on the stage, and succeeds for 
many years to the Deacon's honors. Having no children on 
whose shoulders the mantle of his virtues and the results of his 
industry and economy could descend, he gave at his decease 
£ 400 "Lawfull money" or about 11300 to the town, "to be the 
one-half given to the support of a Gospel Ministry, the other 
half to be to the use and Support of Schools in this town. Pro- 
vided that all other Churches which are or may be in this town- 
of a different Constitution from the Standing order of Churches 
in this Land Shall Forever be Excluded from Receiving any 
benefit from the same." He is the first benefactor of the 
town, who has given a sum for public purposes equalling this 

I have procured from the Register of Probate of Hampshire 
County a copy of the Will of Nathaniel Warriner. And as very 
few of the people of our town know anything definite in regard 
to its provisions, it seems advisable to insert it here. 


In the Name of God Amen 

I Nathaniel Warriner of Wilbraham in the County of Hamp- 
shire & State of the Massachusetts Bay in North America 
Dea" Being in a very low State of Bodily Health, but of Sound 
Mind & Memory Yet Calling to Mind the Mortality of my 
Body do make & ordain this my last Will & Testament as fol- 
lows, Viz First I recomend my Sovd into the hands of God who 
gave it ; and my Body I remitt unto the Earth by desent Buril 
at the Discretion of my Executor hereafter Named, As to my 
Worldly Estate I give Bequeath & Dispose of the Same in the 
following manner. 

Viz To Moses Warriner my Kindsman I Give and Bequeath 

. The History of Wilbbaham 109 

that Lot of Land lying in the Mountain which I Bought of his 
Brother Nathaniel Warriner & beginning & bounded on the east 
end of Philip Lyons Lot of Land and extending east within forty 
rods of the Middle road So Called : also my Scheme Lo.t of Land 
at or near Stebbins's Dam So Called which was Originally laid 
out to Benjamin Warriner Deceas'' also one third of all my 
waring Apperrel the Same to be equally Divided betwixt him 
and the other partners as they Shall agree. 

To Noah Warriner my Kindsman & Brother to the above 
Named Moses I Give & Bequath my Home Lot of Land be- 
gining at at Pole bridge Brook So Called & extendeth east to 
Gideon Btirts Land: also all my Building of every kind Standing 
on the Same : Also aU my Ash Swamp Lot of Land begining at 
the Inward Common line & extending east to within forty rods 
of the Middle road So Called: also my Desk, Lock & Key: also 
all my Team Utensils as Cart, Ploughs, Sleads, Harrows, Axes, 
Hoes &c &c — one Plow Chain only excepted — -I Also Appoint the 
Said Noah to be executor to this my last WUl & Testament— 
also I give him my House Clock & best Bed & its furniture. 

To Nathaniel Warriner my Kindsman, Brother to the above 
Named Moses & Noah I Give & Bequath all that part of my 
Ash Swamp Lot of Land Bounding on the third road So Called 
& extending east to Munson line : Also one Cow & Eight Sheap 
which he hath now in possion by Lease Viz Said Sheep on Con- 
dition He pay to Hannah Alvord Six pounds of good Mer- 
chantable Sheeps wool Yearly so long as She remains immarried : 
Also I give unto him the Said Nathaniel one Plough Chain & 
one Third Share of my wearing Apparrel — 

To Abner Warriner My Kinds Man & Brother to the above 
I Give & Bequeath the whole width of my Ash Swamp Lot of 
Land bounding on the Middle road So Called & extending 
thence West forty rods; also one third Share of my wearing 

To my Sister Elisabeth I Give & bequeath a Sufficient Main- 
tinance out of my Estate during Life in case She hath not 
enough of her own to Cary her through 

To Zebulon Chapin my Kindsman I Give & Bequeath all the 
east end of my Home Lot beginning at the Middle road So 
Called and extending thence east to Monson Line whereon he 
now liveth 

To Jacob Chapin my Kindsman I Give & Bequeath all my 
Scheme Lot of Land Ijmig at or Near Cosey Swamp So Called. 

To Samuel Warner 2d of this Town I Give & Bequeath all my 
Scheme Lot of Land in the Inward Commons & lying South- 

110 The History of Wilbraham 

wardly of Mill river near Enos Chapins Saw Mill, and was 
deed"* to me by Moses Church: also any and all other Lands 
which are my Just property lying in this Town or elsewhere & 
not otherways Mentioned or Disposed of by this Will 

To Gideon Chapin of Chiccupee my Kindsman I Give & 
Bequeath about Thirty Acres of Land lying in Ludlow near 
Hadly line 

To the Wives of Aaron Bliss, Deacon Edward Chapin, 
Richard Woolworth each of them being near of Kindred to my 
Deceased Wife I Give & Bequeath that Chest with Drawers & 
the Pewter of every kind, likewise the Silver Thimble, Gold and 
Silver Sleave Buttons all which was my Wifes property at 
Marriage to be equally Divided betwix them as they Shall agree 

To Hannah Alvord my Present Housekeeper I give & Be- 
queath the Use & Improvement of the North room of my 
Dwelling House ; also a Priviledge She Shall need ia my Sellar 
under my House & in my Kitchin ; back room & Meal Chamber 
& Closet, also in my Garden Plot of Land; also 10 pounds of 
Flax Yearly also when my Orchard is fruitful She Shall have a 
Competency of Appels for her own Use, & Two Barrels of Sider 
Three Bushels of Wheat, Seven Bushels of Rye, Two Bushels 
of Indian Com & one Bushel of Malt each of them Flowered & 
Delivered to her hand with Kenell & Brawn — Zebulon Chapin 
to find one Bushel of the Wheat & Two Bushels of the Rye — 
Said Nathaniel to find one Bushel of .the Wheat & Two of the 
Rye — Said Abner to find one Bushel of the Wheat & one of the 
Rye. Said Moses to find Two Bushels of the Rye — Said Noah 
Warriner to provide, & find to the Said Hannah Sufficient Fire 
wood ready Cut fit for the Fire & at the Door of my Dwelling 
House, & to pasture by grass & Winter by Hay one Cow also 
find unto her Eight Score pounds of good Pork ready Salted or 
Pickled also as often as he can conveniantly to Transport the 
Said Hannah to the House of Publick Worship on Sabbath 
Days, and all this Dining the whole Term that the Said Hannah 
Shall remain unmarried & no longer. 

To the Said Moses, Noah, Nathaniel & Abner I give & Be- 
queath all my Stock or Heards of live Cattle or Creatures to be 
equally Divided betwix them as they Shall agree 

To The Town of Wilbraham I Give & Bequeath the Stim of 
four Hundred Pounds Lawful Money agreeable or equall to 
Silver at Six Shillings & Eight pence p'' ovince one half of which 
for the Use & Support of a Gospell Ministry, the other half to be 
to the Use & Suport of Schools in this Town I order my Executor 
herein Named or his Successor to Loan out the Same in good 

The History of Wilbbaham • 111 

hands with Suretys upon Interest for the Same purposes and the 
Interest of the Same Shall be Yearly paid into the Treasury of 
the Town for the Same purpose & be Subject to recovery 
Yearly by the Town Treasurer for that or those Uses or other- 
ways recoverable as the Town thinks fit & the Principle is 
always to be kept whole & entire & not Diminished — Provided 
Nevertheless — ^That if this Town is ever lawfvilly Divided into 
two Towns Viz a North & a South; in that Case the North part 
Shall be only Intitled to the Benefit of any part of the Said Four 
Hundred Pounds: also it is hereby Provided that all other 
Churches which are or may be in this Town of a Different Con- 
stitution from the Standing order of Churches in this Land 
Shall forever be excluded from receiving any Benefit from the 

Furthermore All Moneys Justly Due to my Estate by Book, 
Bond or Note I Give & Bequeath to all & each one of my 
Kindred & Lawful Heirs the Same to be paid by my Executor or 
Successor to each of them in Equal Shares: and if any of my 
Debtors Shall appear Indigent or needy & unable to pay their 
respective Dues to my Estate in that Case I order the Debtors 
to be forgiven and the Debt forever to be relinquished & not 

In Witness whereof I the Said Nathaniel Warriner have here- 
unto Set my hand and Seal this 29th Day of December Annoque 
Domini 1779 

N. B. Four razings & Eight Interlinings before Sealing — 
Sin<», Seal-J Published & 

pronounced by the Said Nath" Warriner Seal 

Nathaniel Warriner as his 
last Will and Testament in 
Presence of us 

Jesse Warner 
Abel King 
Asaph King 

Hampshire County S. S. Northampton, Mass., July 9, 1913. 
Registry of Probate. 
A true Copy, Attest Hubbard M. Abbott, Register. 

I have not found any report of the executor of the Deacon 
Warriner will, which shows when, or to whom, the legacy of 400 
pounds was paid. But it must have been paid previous to 
September 10th, 1782. For on that date, at a meeting of the 
North Parish, it was 

112 • The History of Wilbhaham 

"Voted that Cap' James Shaw Doct. John Stems Doct. 
Samuel F. Mirick be a Com'"* to agrea with the South Parish 
respecting Deacon Nathaniel Warriner Donation as Soon as 
may be and report to the Com'^* Chosen to prefer a petition to 
the General Cotirt for a redress of Grevience." 

Also "Voted that Doc' Sam" F. Mirick Cap' Abel King 
Cap' James Shaw be a Com"* to apply to the General Court 
for redress of Grevience Concerning the Division of the town 
as soon as may be in Case the South Parish Dont relinquish 
Dec" Warriner Donation." 

I have not found any report froin either of these committees. 
The South Parish may have claimed, that, as the town was not 
actually divided, they were entitled to the use of one half of the 
legacy for the "Support of a Gospel Ministry." When the 
town was divided in 1878, a committee was appointed by the 
town of Wilbraham to adjust this matter between the two 
parishes. But nothing was accomplished. 

I have overrun the time limit, or arrangement a little, 
but it seemed best to keep this record of the church business 


In the Stebbins History, Page 230, is a list of the names of 
one hundred men, taxpayers in the town, with a list of their 
property, divided into twenty different items. 

There were 92 dwelling houses and three tan houses, I have 
omitted a few of the items, and have condensed several of the 
others; To illustrate, the four items, "Acres of pasture," 
"Acres of tillage," "Acres of mowing," "Acres fresh meadow," 
are all included in one. The number of tons of fresh meadow 
hay cut was more than four times as much as that cut from the 
upland mowings, and both are entered here together. By the 
state census, the population of Wilbraham in 1765, was 491, 
and in 1776, 1057. Assuming that the increase was fairly regu- 
lar, the population of the town, in 1771, was about 800. It 
seems worth while to preserve this ancient account of the 
products and property of the town. 

The History of Wilbraham 


Taxpayers and List of Properties 












Acres of 








Thomas Mirick 








John Hitchcock 








Noah Stebbins 








Nathaniel Bliss 








Philip Lyon 







Gideon Burt 







Moses Warriner 








Noah Warriner 







James Warriner 








Moses Burt 








Nath'l Warriner 









Aaron Alvord 








Daniel Warner 








Phineas Newton 








Ezra Barker 







Enoch Chapin 








Isaac Brewer 








William Brewer 








Eleazer Smith 








David Warriner 








John Stems 






Samuel Warner 







Daniel Murphy- 








Samuel Bartlett 








Abel Bliss 







Nath'l Hitchcock 







Benj. Warriner 







Nat. Hitchcock, Jr. 




Isaac Osbom 






David Jones 







Elisha Ferry 






Benoni Atchinson 







Samuel Warner, Jr. 






Jesse Warner 







Moses Alvard 







Samuel Day 







Joseph Abbot 







Nath'l Bliss, Jr. 






James Eddy 







Caleb Stebbins 







Joseph Firmin 



John Crane 






Daniel Cadwell, Jr. 





Zebulon Chapin 







Daniel Cadwell 








Lemuel Dunham 







Paul Hitchcock 



Daniel Carpenter 


James Twing 








Thomas Dunham 





The History of Wilbraham 

Taxpayers and List 

OF Properties — Continued 










Acres of 

Bush, of 







John Plumley 



Jonathan Ely 









Joseph Burnham 






Moses Colton 








Stephen Bliss 







Joel Bliss 






Moses Stebbins 








John Bliss 








Enos Stebbins 







William Stacy 








Gary Burdick 





Samuel Sexton 








John Goodwell 






. Joel Chaffee 



. 8 




John Pirmin 









William Wood 







Nathan Answorth 







James Prentice 





Thomas Lewis 








Joseph Jones 







Joseph Sharon 







Abel King 







Jabez Hendrick 







Tsnnp Morris "'~ 










— -Joseph Chaffee 


Abner Badger 







David Ferry 






Joseph Butler 







Zadock Stebbins 






Simeon Chaffee 






John Chaffee 





Phineas Stebbins 

■ 1 






William King 







Thomas King 








F.7.ptip1 Russell 








William Tailler 


Eldad Stebbins 








David Burt 







Abner Chapin 








Paul Langdon 








John Langdon 








John Williams 








Jonathan Brown 




Gideon Kibby 







Aaron Stebbins 2nd 








Aaron Stebbins 








Asa Chaffee 







Lewis Laiigdon 



Benj. Hutchinson 






Jonathan Mirick 








Names ^ 100 









The History of Wilbkaham 115 

It will be remembered that when the Outward Commons 
were divided, or apportioned among the one hundred and 
twenty-five original proprietors, in 1674-75, a lot in each division 
was set for the support of the ministry, and one for the schools. 

Each ministry lot was 37 rods and 4 feet wide, north and 
south, and four miles long, east and west. But as each rod in 
the width of the lots was only sixteen feet long, we must deduct 
one rod one foot and six inches, which would leave each ministry 
lot 36 rods 1 foot and 6 inches wide, and as each rod wide, four 
miles long, would contain; eight acres, there would be about two 
hundred and eighty-nine acres in each lot, and each school lot 
would contain about one hundred and forty-four acres. 

In April, 1769, it was voted "that the Com'=^ which was 
chosen to Sell or Lease the School Lands in this town shall Sell 
or Lease the same in such manner as is most for the Interest and 
Benefit of this Town and according to their best skill and Judge- 
ment and that they give to the Purchasers good Title of or the 
same by Lease or deed on behalf of this Town on conditions fol- 
lowing (Viz) that the purchaser or purchasers shall at Bargaining 
for said Lands pay the Cost for the same, or find two good 
Sureties with themselves who shall be firmly Bound for Sure 
payment, further Voted * * * that said Committee make report 
of their doings to Some future Meeting." 

' There is an article in the warrant for a meeting, January .1, 
1770, "to receive the Report of the Com"= which was chosen to 
lease or sell the School Lands." Their report is not recorded; 
but a committee is chosen "to take care of the money which the 
School Lands were sold for, and to see to it that the same is safe 
and that the Interist of the same be paid yearly and lodged in 
the town treasury," etc. 

The ministry and school lots were leased year by year until 
they were sold. In 1768, the school lands were leased as follows : 
"To James Eddy'£ 0. 3. 0; To Sam' Glover £ 0. 12. 0; To 
Isaiah Chaffee £ 0. 4. 0; to Amos Chaffee £ 0. 4. 0; To John 
Bliss £0. 6. 0; Total £ 1. 9. 0." 

In 1772-73, the town voted to receive 155 pounds 5 shillings 
5 pence from former treasurers, Samuel Stebbins deceased, and 


The History of Wilbraham 

Isaac Brewer for money received for Land Tax sales, and sale of 
overplus land. 

In 1773, a committee of seven reported to the town that they 
had sold the two ministry lots and delivered to the town "nine 
bonds for Money on Interest Due to said town on account of 
the sale of the Ministry Lands so far as they have sold of the 
same, Vig: — ■ 

James Ferry, one Dated June 8th 1772, 
Jonathan Mirick 

Ezekiel Russell 
Amos Hitchison 
Joseph Dunham 
Benj. Farmin 
Oliver Bliss 
Levi Bliss 
Caleb Stebbins 
for over plus lands 

" 1st, 

May 28, 

it ti 

June 8, 

: 93. 2. 
41. 10. 
10. 17. 8 
12. 10. 
31. 18. 3 
39. 18. 
27. 8. 
76. 9. 6 

15. 0. 

Total, Lawfull Money 349. 3. 5" 

If we deduct the £ 15 received for overplus land we have 
£ 334. 3. 5 from the sale of the ministry lots, with perhaps some 
additions later, the income from which would be for the "sup- 
port of the gospel." 

In the treasurer's accounts of the North Parish, the first 
record of interest money received, that I have found, is, January 
1st, 1794, "By forty Dollars by the town committee £ 12. 0. 0;" 

1795, " By thirteen pound ten shillings interest money 13. 10. 0;" 

1796, "By forty five dollars Interest money 13. 10. 0" 
Then forty-five dollars is received each year until 1803. I 

have not found any account of the treasurer's receipts from 
isOS to 1815. 

Beginning with 1815 to 1829, $45.00 is received each year, 
with perhaps one or two exceptions, "from the town for the 
support of the Gospel." It is sometimes entered, "Interest on 
loan money." 

The Stebbins History says: 

"The epic of this period yet remains to be recited,- — the words 
and deeds of our fathers during the Revolutionary War. The 

The Histobt of Wilbhaham 117 

subject is as rich in inspiration as in instruction for us, the grand- 
children and great-grandchildren of these men. The records are 
full of the proceedings of the town, — ^passing resolutions of 
sympathy with the suffering city of Boston; sending aid to the 
families whose members were killed or wounded at the Lexing- 
ton fight; sending men into the field by the payment of large 
bounties; furnishing their share of beef to the commissary; 
giving clothing to the half -naked soldiers; choosing committees 
to ' take care of persons ' inimical to the State; struggling with a 
depreciated currency; voting one silver dollar in paying taxes 
to be equivalent, first to seventy-five, then to eighty, then to 
two hundred and fifty dollars of paper money; filling a draft 
of every seventh man; and leaving the crops in the field to 
be harvested, as well as planted, by the old men, the children, 
and the women. Such is a glance at the deeds I am to 

' 'The great cause of the Revolutionary War— taxation without 
representation — had stirred up a deep feeling of hostility to the 
mother country, and the indirect manner in which the tax was 
levied — -by a tariff on imported goods from Great Britain and 
the British possessions — only added fuel to the fiame. They 
coiild not escape the tax, unless they .ceased using the goods 
imported. If they made no purchases, they would pay no taxes. 
Accordingly an association was formed in 1769, by the mer- 
chants in Boston, whose members pledged themselves to import 
no more of the taxed articles, and the citizens were petitioned to 
cease trading with all merchants who woiild not pledge them- 
selves to import no more of them from England or her depend- 
encies. This pledge of the citizens was not only circulated in 
the town of Boston, but was also sent to all the towns in the 
colony. The appeal from the merchants reached the citizens 
of this town in the spring of 1770, and at a town-meeting held 
May 1, of which Lieut. Thomas Merrick was moderator, it was 
'Voted that the Marchants not only of our Metropolis but 
thro' the continent have acted Generous and as becoming 
Gentlem[en] of a free Constitution and as well wishers of their 
Fellow Men in that they have Nobly Preferred the Public good 
to their own private interest, and with a view to obtain a 
Redress of those Grievances so Justly complained of have by a 
certain agreement engaged to Suspend their Importations from 
Great Britain, a Measure which cannot but be approved by 
every wise and Generous Man, and which we hope will prove 
Instrumental to Effect the Salutary Design in view.' 'Voted 
that the above vote be recorded in the Town Book and a Copy 

118 The History of Wilbbaham 

thereof to be transmitted to the committee of Inspection in the 
Town of Boston in order to be Published.' 

"This is the first voice from Wilbraham, five years before the 
battle of Lexington, and it is in every way worthy of the men 
and the crisis. Oijr hearts swell with gratitude as we repeat the 
words. We feel taller and stronger as we remember they were 
the words of our ancestors. 

"The town clerk, the renowned Master Barker, adds to his 
record of the above vote, 'N. B. It was moved in the meeting 
to pass some Votes relating to not purchasing goods of those, 
who, contrary to the merchant's agreement, continue to Import, 
and also relating to the Horrid Murther lately committed in 
Boston by the Soldiers: but a rumour that the Duty acts were 
repealed, and beiag an Infant town [mark the modesty as well as 
the manliness of the fathers, for the town was not .yet seven 
years old] in the Province, the Meeting thought Prudent not to 
show themselves too forward in passing many votes in the 
affair.' Their patriotism is surpassed by nothing but their 
modesty. They desired no quarrel with the mother country, 
and hoping the 'rumour of repeal' was true, they passed over 
without action the article 'to see if this town will take care 
Speedily to Procure and Provide a Stock of Powder and Am- 

"No further action was taken by the town for the next three 
years. The controversy was carried on mainly between the 
colonial Governor and the citizens of Boston, though active 
correspondence was kept up with other towns in the state. At 
a town meeting held April 6, 1773, Ezra Barker, Isaac Brewer, 
Eleazer Bliss, John Bliss, and Nath'l Warriner were chosen a 
committee ' to take into Consideration Corresponding with the 
town of Boston relative to the Crown fixing Salaries upon our 
officers without our Consent.' At an adjourned meeting, held 
April 20th, 'at 3 o'clock P. M.,' this committee make their 
report in reply to the appeal of the Boston Committee, drawn 
up in part by Samuel Adams and Joseph Warren, and presented 
to the town meeting of Boston, November 20, 1772, by Janies 
Otis, that flaming torch of the Revolutionary struggle. In 
what words coiold these simple citizens of young Wilbrahani 
respond to the sentences of fire which came blazing from the 
pen of Adams, and thundering from the lips of Otis? Listen to 
them, — ^modest, manly, heroic: 'We, the Inhabitants of the 
town of Wilbraham this 20th day of April A. D. 1773 in town 
meeting Lawfully assembled by adjournment Take this oppor- 
timity to acknowledge the favour of a Pamphlet printed by order 

The History of Wilbraham 119 

of the town of Boston at their meeting Nov. 20th, 1772, wherein 
the rights of the Colonists are stated together with a list of 
publick Grievances or infringements of those rights, &c., we 
freely acknowledge that we are a few days later than might 
justly be expected & perhaps some wUl say that we are fore- 
closed on account that the Honorable House of Representatives 
have taken the matter in hand, others may venture to say that 
Seeing Wilbraham is hut an Infant town, the Inhabitants there of 
are bold and Imprudent, in meddling with the affair: Since the 
most anticent towns in the same Country have lain still and done 
nothing; we answer that we have a call to be very bold to stand 
for and maintain our just rights and privileges especially 
at this so critical time. And if we may be allowed to use 
Scripture Language we would have recourse to the words of 
Elihu and say, I a,m young and ye are very old, wherefore I was 
afraid and Dust not Show you mine opinion. I said Days should 
Speak and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there 
is a Spirit in man b°c., — Therefore I said Hearken to me I also 
will Show mine opinion. — Behold, I waited for words, &c. Thus 
far the Introduction, and after taking thankful notice of the 
late conduct of the honorable house of representatives we will 
proceed to a few resolves." In these resolves the committee 
say it is (1) "the opinion of this town that the rights of the 
Colonists as stated in the Boston Pamphlet in general are well 
and Justly Stated and we have too much reason to believe that 
there is an attempt made to abridge us of those rights, which is 
Cruel and unreasonable; (2) that in faithfulness to ourselves to 
our posterity and as friends to the English constitution and 
nation as well as faithful and loyal Subjects to our Sovereign 
Lord the King, we may not dare sit still as Idle Spectators 
and DO nothing. Wherefore Considering ourselves a part of the 
whole, and members of the same Body and that our Interests are 
Joint Interests (3) we are willing & will unite and Join with our 
Brethren in pursuing all Proper & Lawful methods whereby we 
may gain redress of those Grievances so Justly Complained of 
and which are like to prove So hurtful to the good Subjects of 
the King as well as Dishonorable to his Crown. (4). Resolved as 
the opinion of this town that we are not Sensible that we or our 
Brethren of this Province have Done anything thus to forfeit 
our Just rights or to merrit the Displeasure of our Sovereign, 
but on the other hand we verily Beleive that the People of this 
Province and throughout the whole British America are as 
true and as Loyal subjects as any in the King's Dominions, at 
the Same time we Cannot omitt Saying that it is with Pleasure 

120 The History of Wilbraham 

we observe Stiddiness and firmness of the people in their resolu- 
tions as well as good temper in standing for and maintaining 
their Just rights and Priviledges and that all mobs, routs and 
riots arejaid aside — and Furthermore we are of opinion that if 
petitions for redress in a proper Channel were repeatedly and 
humbly presented to our King & our earnest prayers Continually 
put up to the King of kings the same accompanied with a imi- 
versal reformation this would give us reason to hope that our 
Priviledges wold be restored and Continued to us and that we 
might yet remain a happy People.' Resolves every way 
worthy the age of heroes and sages. 

"The state of affairs grew no better, and in December, the tea 
was thrown overboard in Boston Harbor by a party of citizens 
disguised as Indians, among whom was Robert Sessions, who 
soon afterwards settled in this town and became one of our most 
worthy and influential citizens. 

"In June, 1774, Gage filled Boston with troops, and the Com- 
mon was covered with tents. A special meeting of our citizens 
was held June 23d. The town meeting was 'very full.' Mr. , 
John Bliss was chosen moderator. It was voted that 'Dea. 
Warriner Shoiild Desire Mr. Mirick to Come and Pray accord- 
ingly Mr. Mirick opened S^ meeting by prayer.'. This is the first 
record of a prayer being offered at a town meeting. 

" 'Afer several Letters or Covenants sent from the town of 
Boston to the town of Wilbraham were read, it was further 
voted after Largely Discoursed upon that Some words Should be 
Dashed out in the first article in the Covenant -and some be aded, 
voted that the Last article in the Covenant should be all Dasht 
out 8c voted there Should be words aded under the Last article 
in the Covenant ; voted and chose Dec" Warriner Lieut Thomas 
Mirick and James Warriner a Com'* to make Enquiry to See 
what other towns Do before they send S"* Covenant to the town 
of Boston & voted that S"* Com'* should not send S^ Covenant 
without further orders from S"* town. This covenant says there 
being no alternative between the horrors of Slavery or the 
Carnage and desolation of a Civil war but a Suspension of all 
Commercial intercoturse with the island of Great Britain, we do 
solemnly Covenant and engage with each other (1) that from 
henceforth we will Suspend all Commercial intercourse with 
said island of Great Britain * * * and (2) that we will not buy 
purchase or Consume or SxiHer any person by for or under us to 
purchase or Consume in any manner whatever any goods weres 
or merchandize which shall arrive in America from Great 
Britain * * * * and that we will break off all trade Commerce 

The History of Wilbkaham 


and dealings whatever with all persons who Prefering their own 
Private intrist to the Salvation of their now perishing Country 
shall still continue to Import goods from Great Britain or shall 
purchase of those who do Import and (3) we agree to purchase 
no article of merchandize of any who do not sign this covenant.' 
Then follow the signatures of one hundred and twenty-five 
patriotic men, who, it is to be presumed, were heads of families." 

Names of those who signed the Non-Constmiption Pledge. 

Paul Langdon, 
Thomas Coleman, 
Noah Stebbins, 
Moses Warriner, 
Thomas King, 
Daniel Cadwell, Jr. 
Jonathan Bliss, 
Aaron Alvord, 
Peleg. Woodworth, 
Henry Ely, 
Stephen Cotton, 
Noah Warriner, 
Moses Stebbins, Jr. 
Moses Bartlett, Jr. 
Nathaniel Bliss, 
Gabril Bumham, 
Jonathan Ely, Jr. 
Abel Bliss, 
Levi Bliss, 
Abner Badger, 
Calvin Stebbins, 
John Bliss, 
Ezra Barker, 
-Joseph Chaffee, 
Paul Hitchcock, 
Rheuben Hitchcock, 
Moses Burt, Jr. 
David Warriner, Jr. 
Abel King, 
Rowland Thomas, 
Jonathan Sikes, 
Phinias Stebbins, 
James Warriner, 
John Langdon, 2d. 
Nathaniel Warriner ,2d 
John Jones, 
Joseph Sikes, 
Jesse Warner, 
David Bliss, 
Joseph Abbot, 
Benoni Atchinson, Jr. 
Silas Hitchcock, 


John Hitchcock, 
Thomas Jones, 
Caleb Stebbins, Jr. 
Martin Nash, 
Nehemiah Abbot, 
Abner Warriner, 
Gideon Burt, 
Amos Hutchinson, 
Abner Chapin, Jr. _^ 
John Chaffee, 
WiUiam Stacy, 
Jesse Lambfaire, 
Rowland Crocker, 
Thomas Lewis, 
Enos Stebbins, 
Joel Chaffee, 
Soloman King, 
John Langdon, 
Samuel Bartlett, 
Ephraim Chapin, 
Samuel Warner, 
David Perry, 
Lieutt. Thomas Mirick 
Serg't Moses Burt, 
Dea. Natha. Warriner, 
Joseph Bumham, 
Benoni Atchinson, 
Eleazer Smith, 
Ser. William King, 
David Warriner, 
David Lyon, 
Abner Chapin, 
„,^6amuel Bebee, 
Oliver Bliss, 
Gideon Kibbee, 
Jonathan Ely, 
Nathaniel Hitchcock, 
John Lumis, 
Elijah Parsons, 
Joseph Jones, 
Lewis Langdon, Jr. 

Isaac Dunham, 
Joseph Bumstead, 
Zadock Stebbins, 
Stephen Bliss, 
Zadock Bebee, 
Moses Colton, 
Simeon Chaffee, 
Moses Bartlett, 
Jlzekiel Russel, 
Jabes Hendrick, 
Joseph Mason, 
Ebenezer Crocker, 
Samuel Dunham, 
Thomas Bliss, 
Ebenezer Stacy, 
John Plumbey, 
Nathan Ainsworth, 
Moses Stebbins, 
Samuel Sexton, 
Asa Chaffee, 
Justin Stebbins, 
Asa Waukor, 
David Chapin, 
William Orsborn, 
Zenas Jones, 
Benjamin Wright, 
Aaron Bliss, 
Isaac Orsborn, 
Ebenezar Thomas, 
Samuel Warner, Jr. 
Henry Chandler, 
Charles Warriner, 
Ephraim Wight, 
Ephraim Wight, Jr. 
Caleb Stebbins, 
Levi Cadwell, 
Henry Wright, 
Amos Chaffee, 
Serg't Aaron Stebbins, 
Serg't Daniel Cadwell, 
Ebenezer Bebee. 

122 The History of Wilbraham 

These fathers of ours felt that higher wisdom than man's was 
needed in the "great crisis" and they finally "Resolved that as 
God in his providence is frowning upon the Inhabitants of this 
Land in the Civil Distresses which we begin to feel b° many 
others which we Can Easily fore bode, we think it proper to Set 
apart one Day in three months as a Day of fasting & prayer to 
All Mighty God for his help in our Deliverance and in this way 
Look to that being for Releif by whom Kings reign & princes 
decree justice, Sensable for our Encouragement that in this way 
God was wont to releive people of old, and that the appoint- 
ment of the particular Day be left to oiu: Rev^ Paster or the 
Select [men] of the town. ' ' They then ' ' voted very unanimously 
& Granted twenty-five pounds to provide a town Stock of 
ammunition as the Law directs." 

There were tories in town and some professedly neutral 
persons who needed attention, and, January 2, 1775, a commit- 
tee of fifteen was chosen "to see that the Continentil and 
Proventil Congresses associations and resolves are Strictly 
attended to." At the same meeting they chose "Maj. John 
Bliss a Deligate for a provential Congress proposed to be held 
att Cambridge the first day of febuary next or Sooner if Cald 
for;" and chose a committee of seven "to Collect a Donation 
for the poor of the town of Boston and See that the Same is 
Transported as soon as may be." A body of "minute men" had 
already made "Extraordinary preparation" for "immediate 
Service" and that was soon to be called for and promptly 

General Gage, commander of the British troops in Boston, 
had determined to get possession of the ammunition and arms 
of the province which he heard were stored at Lexington and 
Concord. On the night of the eighteenth of April the troops 
stole out of Boston hoping to reach Lexington without being 
discovered, but the concerted signal flashed from the spire of 
the New North Church, and Paul Revere was instantly on his 
way from Charlestown to Lexington, rousing the inhabitants on 
the road, so that when Major Pitcaim who led the advance of 
the troups reached the Common he found the "minute men" of 

The History of Wilbbaham 123 

Lexington drawn up in arms before him. He ordered them to 
disperse. They stood their ground. He ordered his men to 
fire. That volley opened the Revolutionary War. Couriers 
were despatched on the fleetest horses to arouse the people 
everywhere and carry the flaming torch of alarm through the 
country. On the 20th, we may suppose, just as the sun was 
passing the meridian, a rider was seen corning down the Bay 
Road at full speed, his horse dripping and smoking with sweat, 
who barely checked his pace before Samuel Glover's door, and 
annoimced the fight, calling upon the "minute men" to hasten 
to the rescue. He was off and out of sight on his way to Spring- 
field in a moment. Blood had been shed ! ^Glover mounts his 
horse and rides, as he never rode before, down by Jones's and 
Bliss's calling on them to come on as he goes. Brewer and 
Merrick, and Warriner the captain of the minute men, rush in 
from the field. The long roll is beaten by Charles Ferry, so that 
the mountain answers it from Oliver Bliss's to Noah Stebbins. 
Merrick mounts his horse and flies down the west road to the 
Hitchcocks, and the Stebbinses, the Chapins, and the Langdons, 
by the Scantic. Burt tells his most vigorous son to cross the 
mountains by Rattle snake Peak as swift as the winds ever 
swept over them, and rouse the Crockers, the Cones, the 
Russels, the Kings, and to stay not his speed till all the men of 
the south valley, from the comer to Isaac Morris's were stim- 
mohed to the march; then to return without delay along the 
east road by the Chaffees,' Hendricks,' and Carpenters,' and 
over the mountains by Rev. Noah Merrick's, home. It waa,^ 
done as qtiick and as well as said. "Edward " said Isaac Morris \ 
to his son, "bring the horse." And as soon as he had slung his 
powder-horn over his shoulder, put his bullets into his pocket, 
and taken down his trusty gun from its hooks, the faithful 
steed was at the door. Breathing a prayer for his heroic wife, 
standing by in speechless submission, he was off at full speed on 
the track of young Btirt, and passing up the same road. Comfort 
Chaffee and Jesse Carpenter joined him, and rode for the 
mountain, while Enos Stebbins and Asa Chaffee, from south of 
the Scantic, rushed over to William King's and together up the 

124 The History of Wilbkaham 

middle road, taking Ezeldel Russell and Rowland Crocker in 
company, and all joined those coming up the west road and 
over the mountain, at the Nathaniel Warriner bam, about a 
half mile south of the center of our main village. 

Before the mountain ceased to glow with that day's departing 
sun, thirty-four men, with the blessing of their wives, and the 
prayers of the fathers who were too old to go into battle, were 
on the "great Bay Road," hastening on their way to defend 
and, if need be, to die for their rights. But the "red-coats " had 
returned to Boston in fewer numbers and more rapidly than 
they left it, and our "minute men" returned after ten days to 
the quiet and security of their own homes. Such, was the 
"Lexington alarm." 

A company of forty-five men, thirty-four of whom were of 
this town, was at once organized under the command of Capt. 
Paul Langdon, as eight months' men; they were encamped in 
Roxbury and formed part of the army which besieged Boston. 
It is evident that a very close watch was kept upon those who 
were suspected of faithlessness in heart or weakness in knee, 
for, at a town meeting, September 2, 1776, an unsuccessful 
attempt was made, after a "Large Debate" to remove "L' 
Wm. King and Mr. Enos Stebbins" from the committee "of 
Correspondence, Inspection and safety & in the rome and Sted 
thereof Chuse two other members for S** Com"^." The Article 
to see if the town "will immediately furnish themselves with a 
town stock of ammunishon & fire arms if it can be procured" 
was also "past over & not acted upon." 

In the autumn of 1776, there was fear of an invasion from 
Canada, and the town furnished thirty-two men, under the 
command of Capt. Daniel Cadwell, who rendered service "at 
Ticonderoga from December 5, 1776, to April 2, 1777." The 
town, as well as the whole state, was startled September, 1776, 
by what was called the Bennington Alarm, and a company of 
fifty-two men, under the command of Capt. James Shaw, left 
town September 24, for the seat of danger. They were present 
on the opposite side of the river at the surrender of Burgoyne at 
Saratoga. As there was no call for further service, they returned 

The History of Wilbbaham 125 

and were discharged, October 18, after a campaign of only 
thirty-two days. The next November the town voted to pay 
the soldiers who marched on the alarm towards Bennington, 
£ 11. It was found very difficult, after the first gush of patriot- 
ism was spent, to obtain men for the war, especially for any long 
period of service, and £ 12 bounty was offered for volunteers, 
March 18, 1777, to fill up the town's quota of "every seventh 

From organizing the militia, and furnishing soldiers for the 
army, the town turns to framing a constitution; and instruc- 
tions were given, May 23, "to [Maj. John] Bliss and [Capt 
John] Shaw," representatives from the town, to form "Such a 
Constitution of Government as other Representatives of this 
State in one body with the Cotmcil Shall Judge best Calculated 
to promote the happiness of this State," which body they are 
directed to join; but they are "to take head in all their doings 
and be Strictly careful in forming Said Constitution that the 
JUST EIGHTS, Liberties & Priviledges of the people in 
general he well guarded &° Secured against all unjust Incroach- 
ments whatever * * * that in all their proceedings they have 
Special recorse (as an assistance) to a Little book or Pamplet 
Intitled 'The People the best Governors, or a Plan of 
Government, &c.,' " and finally, that "they use their influence 
and endeavors that such acts or Laws as have hen already anacted 
and are like to prove hurtful to this or any State be amended or 
repealed." Jealousy of power in the hands of government is 
shown most distinctly in these instructions, and will be foimd 
deeply ingrained in the very hearts of our fathers all through 
their history. 

At this time, the trouble with the depreciating paper currency 
begins to make its appearance. Silver coin, in which taxes must 
be paid, could not be obtained except at a high premium, and 
it was very difficult, almost impossible, for the people to pay 
their taxes. Instructions are therefore given by the town, 
November 21, 1777, to Col. John Bliss and Capt. John Shaw, 
representatives, "to use their influence to repeal the act made 
for Calling in the States money." 

126 The History of Wilbbaham 

The sufferings of the soldiers in the field and of their families 
at home were becoming so severe as to call for the action of the 
town, and at a meeting, held January 5, 1778, five men were 
chosen a committee "to Collect Donations for the Continential 
Soldiers belonging to this town." And "L* John Hitchcock, 
Lewis Langdon and L' Ebenezer Russel" were "chosen a com- 
mittee to take care of those families that their husbands are gone 
into the war for the term of three years or During the war." 

The constitution or frame of government which had been 
framed for the state during the past year was submitted to the 
people for acceptance, and this town, March 26th, 1778, voted 
against it, "24 votes in favor and 51 against." There is no 
record of its objectionable features. A call was made upon the 
town for its quota of seven men to join General Washington's 
amjy at Fiskhill, New York, and a botmty of £ 60 was offered, 
May 11, 1778, to those who should volunteer; and if none 
volunteered, the same sum was to be given to the seven men 
who might be drafted. Two days after, at another town 
meeting, clothing was voted to the soldiers "equal to one- 
seventh part of the male Inhabitants agreeable to a late act of 
the General Court." Also an article, in a warrant for a town 
meeting to be held in August "to see if the town will make 
Choise of Some person or persons to procure Shirts, Shoes and 
Stockings for the Continential Soldiers agreeable to a Late act of 
the general court of this State." There is no record of choosing 
such a committee. The town clerk was absent and a clerk pro 
tern officiated. It is probable he did not make ftdl returns, for 
money is appropriated at the November meeting "to pay for 
cloathing procured for the Continential Souldiers, £ 101, and 
for one pair of shoes omitted for a Continential Soldier £ 2, 25." 

The difficulty of raising men increased as the war went on. 
Paper money was rapidly depreciating, and the volunteer 
could not rely, for a month, upon the nominal value of his pay. 
The town endeavored to obviate this difficulty by offering 
grain, at a fixed price, instead of paper money, to all who would 

It was voted, June 22, 1779, "that Each man who would 

The History of Wilbraham 127 

Inlist into the Continental army for the Term of nine month 
and Join the Continental Army for that Term for Each months 
Service they shall have Forty Shillings Pr. month, wheat at 
6s. Pr. Bushel, Rie at 4 Shillings Pr. bushel. Com at 3 shillings 
Pr. Bushel, oats at 1 s. 6 d Pr Bushel, wool at 2 Shillings Pr 
Pound, flax at lOd. Pr. Pound in addition to their Continental 
Pay & State Bounty." A committee is chosen "to procure the 
above articles," and to draw on the treasury for money. After 
an adjournment of half an hour, apparently for free consulta- 
tion, wheat is put at "4 s. Pr. Bushel, Rie at 3 shilUngs Pr. 
Bushel and Indian Com at 2 Shillings Pr Bushel. ' ' The meeting 
adjourned for half an hour, then for six days, when it is "voted, 
June 28, that, if men do not volunteer, the men who are drafted 
shall have the same bounties;" and, also, to quicken action, it 
is "voted that this town will advance 200 dollars advance pay 
to be Reducted out of their forty Shillings a month according 
as the above S"* Committee Shall adjudge Right and Equitable 
Between the Town and Said Soldiers." 

Agreeable to the advice of the delegates, who met at Concord, 
another convention is called to form a new constitution for the 
state to meet at Cambridge, and Capt. Phineas Stebbins was 
chosen "Deligate," August 16, and the following carefully pre- 
pared instructions were given him — ^which show most signally 
that our fathers were scrupulously, if not wisely, jealous of the 
personal rights of the people and of the power of the govern- 
ment, — ^namely, " (1) As to the Choice of Govenor Lieut. 
Governor and Counsil that they be Chosen Annually by the 
people; (2) That all Civil officers be Chosen Annually by the 
People ; (3) That no Town in this State be allowid to send more 
then two Representatives in one year to the General Court; 

(4) that no Civil officer be a Legislative Officer at the same time ■ 

(5) that all of the above officers Shall be Professors of the 
Protestant Religion." Thus instructed, their "Deligate" 
joined his associates at Cambridge on the first Wednesday of 

The prices of commodities had become so irregidar and uncer- 
tain that an invitation was sent out from a " Committee who set 

128 The History of Wilbbaham 

at South Hadley, Signed E. Porter," to the towns "To choose 
Delegates to meet in convention at Northampton to adopt a 
scale of prices which shall be uniform and permanent. ' ' ' ' Lieut. 
John Hitchcock and Doctor Sam'l F. Merrick" were chosen 
Delegates. In September, a committee of eight is chosen to take 
their report into consideration, and to report "to the Town 
what they think the Prices of the Several Articles (therein set 
down) ought to be." No report was made by this committee. 
It was found, probably, that the subject was too complex to 
admit of the application of any specific rules. 

The enemies of their country grow bolder as the burdens of 
the war increase, and renewed vigilance is demanded of the 
friends of freedom. A committee of seven was chosen in Sep- 

TO BE Enemical TO THE AMERICAN STATES," and they are 
"directed to demean themselves according to the Present Laws 
of this State." 

The difficulties which hindered the raising of men continued 
to acciunulate. The demand was imperative, the work well- 
nigh impossible. A desperate rally was made in October, and 
£ 400 were raised for the soldiers' bounty and mileage money, 
and subscriptions were opened that the money might be 
promptly obtained, the sums subscribed to be deducted from 
the taxes of the persons subscribing. Forty-three names are 
recorded as subscribers. Lieut. John Hitchcock subscribed the 
largest sum, fifty-five dollars. The following are the names of 
the Subscribers for Soldiers' Bounty: 

"Mr. Sam" Warner 


Lt. Gideon Kibbe 


Lt. Eben., Russel 


Mr. John Firmin 


Mr. Eleazer Smith 


Serg' Daniel Cadwell 


Col. John Bliss 


Mr. Moses Stebbins 


Mr. Latham Burdick 


Lt. Thomas King 


Lt. John Hitchcock 


Mr. Lewis Landgon 


Mr. Rowland Crocker 


Moses Stebbins, Jr. 


Capt. Abel King 


William Brewer 


Serg' Philip Lion 


Lt. Jesse Warner 


Mr. Wm. Stacy 


Serg't Gideon Burt 


Mr. John Williams 


Capt. Paul Langdon 


Mr. Ezekiel Russel 


Joshua Edy 


Lt. Noah Stebbins 


Mr. Joel Chaffee 



David Warriner, Jr. 32. 


Chaeab B. Merrick 30. 


Thomas Maxon 30. 


Noah Warriner 20. 


John Glover 30. 


Mr. David Burt 50. 


Doct. Sam. F. Mirick 30. 




Town Clerk.'' 

The Histoby of Wilbkaham 129 

Serg' John Langdon 
Lt. WiUiam King 
Gains Brewer 
Mr. Comfort Chaffee 
Serg't David Bliss 
Jonathan Bliss 
Benoni Atchinson, Jr. 
William King, Jr. 
Mr. Asa Chaffee 
Moses Burt, Jr. 

In November the town voted £ 2,860 (the sum shows how 
paper money had depreciated) to the soldiers gone for nine 

The war is drawing to a close. Washington succeeded in 
shutting Lord Cornwallis up in Yorktown, and the whole 
British army, under his command, surrendered October 19, 
1781. But the heart of the King was not softened, and men 
and money, and beef and blankets, and shoes and stockings 
were yet needed and demanded. The town granted, October 
13, 1781, £ 8,000 to procure 8,310 cwt. of beef, and in November 
they granted £ 2,000 more to finish the purchase, directing their 
committee "To give no more than one hundred & twenty potmd 
pr. hundred for S* beef." In the same month, November 23, 
1781, the town "voted that the Committee pay out all the 
money Granted for the nine months Soldiers at 80 DoUars pr. 
bushel for wheat, 50 dollars pr. bushel for rie, 33 Dollars and 
two shillings pr. bushel for Indian com, that is not paid out." 
In answer to the call for fifteen men for three years, or during 
the war, it was voted that " 150 silver dollars or paper at the 
exchange" be paid to each man who enlists. It is evident 
enough from these prices that patriotism was no more fervent 
and self-sacrificing in those days than it is in ours. More beef 
is demanded, and £480 "new Corency" is voted "to procure 
15,957 cwt. of beef." The difficulty of obtaining silver with 
which to pay the State Tax had so increased that the wisest 
could not tell how to procxire the money, and the boldest were 
ready to repudiate the tax. A committee was chosen, February 
26, 1782, to petition the General Court about the "Silver rate 
and all other grievances." They presented their petition to an 

130 The History of Wilbbaham 

adjourned meeting ten days after. It was "Sagely Debated," 
but as the naeeting was small, no vote was taken at that time, 
but at the next meeting it was voted to send the petition; then 
the vote was reconsidered, and after debating the subject at 
five adjourned meetings, continued into April, the meeting was 
dissolved. These particulars indicate the strong feeling which 
was growing up in the town respecting the deranged condition 
of the State and national finances. 

Soldiers could not be raised in the usual way, and the town 
was divided into classes, and a soldier assigned to each class. 
Fifteen districts were made of the town, according to population 
or wealth, and each one of these districts furnished a man, either 
of their own number or from some other place, or paid the fine 
imposed for noncompliance, which at this time was about £45. 
As the town could not pay the money in hand which they had 
agreed to give the soldiers on entering the service, they gave a 
note for the principal, and paid the interest. The town is also 
required to fxunish 6,585 cwt. more beef, and £132 are granted, 
July 25, to purchase it. A new requisition of men is made, and 
it is voted to give the soldiers who were to serve for three 
months. " 50 s. per month and they draw their own wages [i. e. of 
the State or nation] or £4 per month and the town draw their 
wages" and also voted to pay "each soldier 40 s. before he 
march." The men could not be obtained; and a week after, 
the town granted 20 s. in addition to the £ 4 per month, and 
voted that "each soldier be paid £ 3 before he marches," and to 
pay the whole £ 180. In November, £ 60 more are granted to 
purchase the balance of the beef of the old requisition, and 
£140 to purchase what a new requisition required; and in pay- 
ing rates it is voted that one Silver Dollar Should answer 75 
Dollars" [in paper money]. 

It becomes more and more difficult to raise money; and the 
town in their perplexity and distress went so far, May 12, 1783, 
after the treaty of peace had been signed, as to vote to "Instruct 
their Representative not to grant Congress the impost Re- 
quested by them for the express purpose of raising a revenue 
Independent of the States nor to supply Congress any way untill 

The History op Wilbbaham 131 

the half pay to the officers of the army in the Communication 
thereof be settled and entirely given up." The war closed, but 
not the financial difficulties. Paper money sank in value 
rapidly, sank to worthlessness very soon. It would not pay 
debts, nor buy bread! The attempt to collect debts in silver 
which were contracted in paper currency was calculated to 
provoke a rebellion. A man who borrowed a hundred dollars 
must pay four thousand or lose his farm. The first emission 
became worthless after the issue of the second. A pound of the 
bills was not worth a pound of butter. 

"Eldad Stebbins was constable in 1776. There is a tradition 
preserved among the papers of Calvin Stebbins to this effect: — 
The depreciation of paper money was such that he, having lost 
an ox, took the town's money in his hands, and bought a pair of 
oxen, for forty doUars, and before he was required to make his 
final settlement with the town treasurer, cider would sell for 
twelve dollars a mug, — three and one-third mugs of cider would 
pay, did pay, for the oxen." 

Creditors began to press their helpless debtors. Silver, the 
only legal tender, could not be had. The unprincipled took 
advantage of the times and forced the pajmient of debts, secur- 
ing liens on real estate worth immensely more than the amount 
of the real indebtedness. The courts were thronged. It is said 
that twelve himdred suits were presented at one term of the 
court at Northampton. There was no peace, though peace was 
proclaimed. Men who had poured out their blood, either from 
their own veins or from those of their sons, were now to be 
deprived of the farms they had cleared, the houses they had 
buUt. The blessings of liberty and prosperity, for which they 
had fought, seemed to be escaping their grasp. Their own 
friends seemed to have become foes. The people were enraged, 
and their rage was fanned into a consiiming flame by deluded 
and designing demagogues, and especially by one Samuel Ely, 
a discarded minister, who had preached for a time in Somers. 

In regard to this Samuel Ely, I find that he had been preaching 
as a candidate at Somers, Conn., previous to 1769, and a council 

132 The History of Wilbraham 

had been called to ordain him as a minister but had refused to 
do so, but he had continued preaching. Among papers left by 
John Bliss, Esq., of South Wilbraham, I find that another 
council was called for the same purpose. The following is part 
of their report. "April 12, 1769, Council called at Somers Ct. 
to ordain Mr Samuel Ely as Minister and reported against it." 
Eight reasons were given why they refused. Part of the 7th 
reason is : " Mr. Ely appears to us to be totally void of the most 
esential qualifications to a Gospel Minister and to be at best 
but a Novice." 

"8th He has used some of the most Horrid and abomniable 
Expressions in some of his Sermons, as for Instance 'That if 
God is the author of Sin the hotest place in Hell is too good for 
Him,' and at another time said this to his audience: 'I have 
done my duty, God will do his, and if you dont do yours You 
will be Damned' &c." (Signed) Sam" Raynolds, Daniel 
Sexton, John Fuller, Noah Chapin, Charles Sheldon, Stephen 
Holmes Scribe of S"* Council." 

In April, 1782, a mob led by Ely disturbed the holding of 
the court at Northampton. He was arrested and im- 
prisoned at Springfield but was released by a mob. Feb- 
ruary 22, 1782, "Deacon John Hitchcock, Dr. John Stems, 
and Abner Chapin were chosen Delicates to set in a county 
convention, to be holden in Hatfield on the first Tuesday 
in April next." Suits became more and more vexatious, and 
money more and more worthless. In October, 1783, another 
delegate was chosen — Dr. John Steams — "to set iri a County 
Convention to be holden in Hatfield at the Dwelling house of 
Colonel Seth Murry." The tumult increased in different parts 
of the state, and arms were not seldom resorted to by the mob. 
In April 25, 1786, Capt. Phineas Stebbins and Mr. David Burt 
were chosen delegates to sit in a county convention at Hatfield; 
and in August of the same year " Lt. Noah Stebbins is chosen to 
Represent the town" in another convention to be held at the 
same place; and in the ensuing, November, Elijah Parsons is 
chosen to represent the town in a convention to be held in 

The History of Wilbbaham 133 

Hadley the next day. So the flames raged. Soon after this 
time, Luke Day, of West Springfield, had organized his forces, 
on the west of the river, and Daniel Shays was coming on, with 
what forces he could muster, from the east. It was the purpose 
of these men to take the arsenal, on the hill at Springfield, and 
seize the arms. General Shepard had assembled about 1,000 
" loyal men at Springfield to defend the arsenal, and General 
Lincoln was pressing on with his army from Worcester. It was 
important that Shays, and Day, who had 1,900 men, should 
attack General Shepard before General Lincoln could reinforce 
him. On the 24th of January, Shays reached Wilbraham and 
spent the night, with his soldiers quartered on the inhabitants. 
That day he had sent a messenger with a letter to Day to be 
ready for the fight the next day; but the messenger, on his 
way back, pinched with the cold, went into a tavern in Spring- 
field to warm himself, and some young men present, suspecting 
all was not right, so plied him with friendly draughts that they 
soon put him into a drunken sleep and got from his pocket 
Day's letter to Shays, saying that he could not fight till the 
26th. Of this Shays knew nothing. But worse was to befall 
him. The men of Wilbraham were not idle. "Asaph King, at 
that time deputy sheriff. Col. Abel King, Dr. Samuel F. Merrick, 
and Dea. Noah Warriner met to devise a way of conveying to 
General Shepard intelligence of the proximity of the force. It 
was at last decided that the job belonged to the sheriff. On the 
morning of the 25"', Shays moved toward Springfield, ' on the 
Bay Road;' when King mounted a splendid young horse, that 
stood saddled in his bam, and started him across the fields to 
the 'stony hill road.' The snow, knee-deep to his horse, was 
covered with a crust, and he was obliged, in some instances, not 
only to make a path for his horse, but to pull down or leap 
fences. When he came out upon the road, the legs of his horse 
were streaming with blood. He was far ahead of Shays, and, 
spurring on, reached the arsenal in forty-five minutes from the 
time he left Wilbraham. ' ' Shepard now learned all the particu- 
lars of the number and proximity of the force of Shays, which 
were important to him, and prepared to meet him. The 

134 The History of Wilbraham 

marching was bad, and Shays did not make his appearance on 
the road till about four o'clock in the afternoon. After some 
parleying, and some boasting on the part of Shays, his column 
moved on toward the loaded cannon of Shepard, who had 
threatened to fire if he did not halt. The insurgents passed on, 
not believing that Shepard would dare to fire. It was no time 
for dallying; yet Shepard, to show all possible forbearance, 
fired first to the right, then to the left, then over the heads of 
the coltunn. But still they came on, the harmless roar of the 
cannon frightening the village more than the insurgents. They 
are within fifty rods of the battery, and pressing on. It was now 
time to fire in earnest. The cannon are trained on the centre of 
the column; thematchis whisked in the air; the column comes 
on; the priming is touched; the smoke belches forth, and the 
shots fly. Soon the smoke lifts. The column is broken and 
flying, crying, "Murder!" Three men lie dead, and four are 
mortally wounded. Shays could not rally his men, and they 
fled with the utmost precipitation till the scattered colimin, the 
disorganized mob, reached Ludlow, where they spent the night. 
I am not aware that any Wilbraham men joined Shays; but 
John Langdon, the hero of two wars, then over sucty years of 
age, who was in Shepard's army, used to take keen delight in 
narrating how, with his old "Queen's Arm" at his eye, he 
frightened a whole squad of Shays-men to throw down their 
arms and surrender. The insurrection was, soon after this, 
wholly put down. The insurgents dispersed to their homes, and 
an amnesty almost general was declared. By special legislation 
the pecuniary affairs of the state were adjusted so as to relieve 
to a great extent the sufferings of the people, and soon prosperity 
filled the purses and gamers of the town. The popularity of 
Shays was very great, however, among some people, and, as 
late as forty years after the rebellion, "Hurrah for Shays ! " was 
as common an exclamation, in the mouths of many persons, as 
"Hurrah for Jackson!" was twenty years later. 

The great struggle for independence is over; The rebellion, 
consequent on a state of universal bankruptcy, is put down; 
the constitution of the state is adopted; the ordinary channels 

The Histoby of Wilbraham 135 

of business are opening to the enterprising; prosperity, peace, 
and happiness succeed the poverty, tumtdt, and anxiety of war. 

It is reported that there were a few Wilbraham men in the 
mob of Shays. There were many of our men with General 
Shepard. Nine Chaffees are said to have answered to the roll- 
call of Shepard's army, on the morning of the battle. As their 
names were called in succession, it caused no little amusement : 
"Asa Chaffee, Asa Chaffee, Jr., Comfort Chaffee, Comfort 
Chaffee, Jr.," etc. 

It is also reported that four or five men from the south part of 
the town, who were on their way to join the insurgents, were 
met near the Sessions place, by one who was returning from the 
affair, and informed that Shays was defeated, and that, "it is 
all over." 

There is a curious story about the Deacon Nathaniel Warriner 
house, in connection with the Shays Rebellion. On the after- 
noon of the 24th of January, the day that Shays had quartered 
his soldiers for the night on the people of Wilbraham, he sent 
an outpost, or picket, of four men down to that house. The 
foiur men went over the house to see that everjrthing was safe 
and clear for their stay over night. They found the door to the 
north front chamber locked. They knew the chamber was 
occupied by someone, because of sounds they had heard, but 
their demand for admittance was not answered. After shaking 
the door in an effort to open it, one of them said, "Let's smoke 
him out!" "Smoke him out" they all shouted. They climbed 
up on to the roof, put a wet blanket over the north flue of the 
chimney, put more fuel on the fire that was already burning in 
the fireplace downstairs, and rushed back to the locked chamber 
door. The smoke from the fire below poured out through the 
fire place in the room above, and filled it with the stifling fiunes. 
The door flew open and a woman, carrjdng a boy about half a 
year old, staggered out from the smoke filled chamber, choking 
and gasping for breath. They had succeeded in "smoking 
him out," but he wasn't very dangerous to them, and I believe 
they apologized for the trouble they had made. I have always 
thought there must have been some reason for that woman's 

136 The History of Wilbraham 

act, and it may be that it was done to keep those men of Shays 
engaged around the Warriner house, while sheriff Asaph King 
and the others mentioned were holding their conference in a 
near-by house, to arrange a way to inform General Shepard of 
their presence. 

I insert here a copy of Dr. Merrick's Journal, as printed 
in the "Stebbins History." 


ON THE Expedition of the Wilbraham Company 
AT the "Bennington Alarm." 

1777. Sept. 29. About two in the afternoon set out from 
home on an expedition to the northern army, arrived at Spring- 
field, tarried till night then dismissed till to morning nine 
o'clock passed the river with Leut. King in order to lodge with 
Uncle Merrick. 30, met according to order and after deliberat- 
ing till about four o'clock we proceeded on our march. Leut. 
King returned to bring up the rear. Went to my uncles to 
lodge again the company proceeded forward. 

Oct. 1 about nine o'clock set out, overtook the company at 
Peas, went in company with them about four miles, put up at 
.Crockers lodged at the next house. 

Oct. 2. Seargant Lamb and Brewer with Solomon Warriner 
& myself proceeded forward in order to put out our horses, went 
as far as Lanesborough, after much difficulty got entertainment 
at one Powels near the middle of the town 

3d Turned to the Eastward Bush Meadow, after much diffi- 
culty got our horses put out at East Hoosuch at Major Roger 
Rose where we lodged. 

4th Took my horse in to Williamstown, sent him back to S"* 
Rose and marched on foot about four miles on the road to 
Bennington then turned to the left and went about six miles 
to one Co' Plat. 

6th Set out in the morning and arrived there soon, foimd 
that our troops were all ordered up the River, Ordered to 
encamp until further orders. In the afternoon heard canon 
briskly toward head quarter; very anxious to hear the event. 

8 This morning an express arrived from head quarters 
informing that Gen. Gates had caried sundry Redoubts & all 
the Enemys out lines and twas expected by the motions that 
they wotild retreat soon, likewise with orders for us to Press 

The History of Wilbraham 137 

forward with, all dispatch, accordingly half after twelve we 
marcht and travilled till sunset about twelve miles. 

9 Gen. Barly from N. Hampshire lodged in the same house 
with us last night, two expresses arrived informing us that the 
enemy were actually on the retreat, orders for us to make no 
delay in order to harass them upon their retreat, set out very 
early and arrived at Batter Hill before noon about three miles 
from Saratoga, a very rainy afternoon, soon after our arrival 
there was an alarm that the Enemy was upon us, but it proved 
to be false. 

10 Lodged in a com house last night, about midnight there 
was another allarm but this likewise Proved false. In the 
morning concluded to join Col. Porter, but before we did he 
marched down to the river, we followed on but was ordered 
more to the southward, which we obeyed and reconoitering the 
shore found a boat ashore which we were guarding when a num- 
ber of others came floating down which we took, lodged here 
this night. 

12. Continue still to guard the boats, the Enemy are now 
about a mile below the church, there has been a scattering fire 
ever since the retreat began and still continues nothing material 
hapening the army excepting Gen Gates sent in a flagg demand- 
ing a surrender, but I have heard no answer. This morning 
Gen. Nickson made an attack upon the enemy but by mistake 
Gen Learned who was to attack them in the west at the same 
time delayed about fifteen minutes after a severe fire a few 
minutes was obliged to retreat. 

14 Ordered that there be a cessation of arms til sun set. 
Sundry flaggs passing back and forth, in the evening reported 
that Gen. Burgoine had agreed to resign himself and army 
Prisoners of War, to march out to morrow morning. 

15 Went over to Saratoga in expectation of seeing the 
Enemy march out, and after waiting the whole day was obliged 
to return without having my expectations answered but with 
great confidence reported that the stipulation was actually 
signed and that it was to take place to morrow. 

16 Waiting to see the army march out but by some reason 
or other is delayed, towards evening heard that it was put off 
till to morrow. 

17 A day never to he forgotten by the American States. About 
Eleven clock A. M. Gen. Burgoine with a number of Other 
officers rode out, escorted by sundry officers of the Continental 
army and a little south of the church was met by Gen. Gates, 
and after a polite compliment proceeded to head quarters; 


The Histoey of Wilbbaham 

about two the army began to march out. I taried till after four 
when I returned. They had not all then marched out, but I 
believe nearly, the number can by no means ascertain but 
should be inclined to think between five and six thousand but I 
am by no means a competent judge, tho' I had a good view of 
them. The Lord be praised for this wonderful token of divine 
favor for which we caimot be sufficiently thankful!." 

(Copied from the Stebbins History.) 
"Dec. 5* 1775. 

"A Roll of Capt. James Warriner's Company of Wilbraham 
who marched in defence of Ammerican Liberty on y= Alarm 
last April occasioned by '""e Lexington Fight. Time of service, 
ten days : 

"James Warriner Capt, 
W™ King Lit. 
John Hitchcock Lit. 
Enos Stebbins S' 
Thos King S' 
Aaron Alvard S' 
Elear Smith 
Sam" Day 
Josh Chaffee 
Sam" Mirick 
Asa Chaffee 
Isaac Morris 

Moses Colton 
Chiliab Mirick 
Jon* Cooley 
Isaac Dtinahm 

Ezekiel Russell 

Reuben Thayer 
Benj. Pamham 
Comfort Chaffee 
Jesse Warner 
Jesse Carpenter 
Jos*i Jones 
Rowland Crocker 

Darius Chaffee 
Ebenr Cadwell 
Joshua Eddy 
Enos Clark 
Ezeki Wright 
Calvin Stebbins 
Thos Coleman 
Gideon Burt 
Abel King 
Charles Brewer 
Benj. Colton 
John Steams 

"A return of Capt. Paul Langdon's Company, in Col. David- 
son's Reg' — on Command at Quebeck Oct. 6, 1775 : 

"Paul Langdon, Capt. 
Daniel Cadwell l^t Lieut. 
Noah Warriner Sargt. 
John Langdon " 
Philip Lyon 
Aaron Stebbins Corp. 
Othniel Hitchcock" 
Charles Perry Drum' 
Abner Warriner fifer 
Daniel Carpenter 
Aaron Cadwell 
Jonathan Sikes 
Seth Clark 
Abner Chapin 
Nathan Sikes 
Moses Simons 
Phanuel Warner 

John Langdon 2°d 
Daniel Simons 
Simon Stacy 
John W. Chaffee 
Ephraim Wright Disch^ 
John Davis 
Reuben Shayler 
Nathaniel Mighets 
Ephraim Dunham 
Ephraim Wight Jr. Dis. 
Benjamin Chubb Dead 
Moses Rood 
Eli Beebe 
Simeon Bates 
Joseph Dunham 

Also thirteen others not residents 
of Wilbraham. • 

The History op Wilbkaham 


"Service at Ticonderoga, Dec. 5, 1776 to Apr. 2, 1777. 
Capt. Daniel Cadwell's Co: Col. Tim" Robinson'^ Detachment: 

"Daniel Cadwell, Capt. 
Daniel Parsons, Is' L' 
Robert McMaster, 2 L' 
John Colton, Sr. 
Joseph Abbott 
John McKlewain Sr. 
Stephen Wright " 
Medad Stebbins Cor. 
Abner Warner " 
Aaron Colton " 
Joseph Colton " 
Judah Moore Dr. 
William Colton Fifer 
Luther Bliss 
Ebpnezer Beebe 
__— -— "SEeward Beebe 

Zadock Beebe 
Jesse Carpenter 
Asa ChafiEee 
Amos Chaffee 
John Hancock 
Jabez Hancock 
John Hitchcock 
-Isaac Morris — 
Moses Stebbins 
James Shaw 
Samuel Warner 
Daniel Chapin 
Judah Chapin 
Jesse Lampeare 
John Stebbins 
Perez Hitchcock 

"180 miles travel £7. 7S. bounty 
"99 Days Service 
"Wages per month 60S. 

"Bennington Alarm, 1777: 

" Capt. James Shaw's Company. Charles Pynchon Esq. Col. 
Sep. 24, to Oct. 18. Time of service 32 days : 

"James Shaw, Capt. 
Noah Stebbins, Lieut. 
Ebenr Colton " 
Joseph Sexton Sergt. 
Charles Ferry 
Gad Lamb 
Gaius Brewer " 
Josiah Cooley Cor'. 
Aaron Chan well " 
Abenor Chapin " 
Calvin Stebbins, fifer 
Gordin Percival 
Samuel F. Merrick 
Edward Colton 
Jon* Leech 
Jon* Merrick 
Luther Hitchcock 
Benj. Howard 
Solomon Loomis 
Geo. Cooley 
Nath' Warner 
David Bliss 
Asa Jones 
Solomon Warriner 
Phinehas Hitchcock 
Comfort Chaffee 

Timothy Worthington 
Daniel Sweetland 
Solomon Lothrop 
Oliver King, Lieut. 
Jabin Cooley 
David Wood 
John Chaterton 
Luther Cooley 
Reuben * Warriner 
Israel Chapin, Lieut. 
John Colton 
Lem' Whitney 
Elijah Parsons 
Judah Ely 
John Langdon 
Edward Morris 
Jesse Lamphere 
Aaron Stebbins 
Judah WiUey 
^^0^s&sj^ Morris 
David White 
Matthew Keep 
Asa Simonds 
Aaron Howard 
Zadock Stebbins 

140 The History of Wilbeaham 

Eight Months' Service, 1778: 

"In Capt. Malcom Henry's Co. Col. David Brewer's Regi- 

"Levi Bannister fifer. Paul Newton 

In Capt. Isaac Colton's Co. Solomon King 

Luther King fifer. Samuel Calking, Drafted 

Daniel Colton Jonathan Polley " 

"Nine Months' Sendee, 1778: 

"Lewis Langdon John Colkins 

Moses Albert John Russell 

John Huntley Joseph Cutt, a negro. 
Zadoc Benton 

"Moses Albert did not pass muster, having lost half of one 
of his feet. 

"Six months' Soldiers, serving in the Continental Army of 
the United States in 1780: 

"David AUin, Ebenezer Thomas, Joseph Bumpstead, Daniel Mason, 
Gad Warriner, Zenas Cone, John James Sikes, John White, Gaius Stebbins, 
Reuben Abbott, Isaiah Chaffee, Stephen Simons, Ethan Smith, Titus 
Amidown, Kittridge Davis, Seth Warner, Henry Wright, Emmons Lillie, 
John Orcutt, 

"In Continental Army for three years, about 1778: 

"Jonas Banton, Nathaniel Hitchcock, Samuel Lyon, John Raymont, Asa 
Woodworth, Peleg Burdick, Phineas Mason. 

"The following served at some time under Capt. John Car- 
penter : 

"Nathan Ainsworth, Jotham Carpenter, Chester Morris, John Amidown, 
Phillip Lyon, Johnson Richardson, Isaiah Chaffee, Reuben Carpenter, 
James Richardson, Josiah Langdon. 

"In Capt. Abel King's Co. Col. Ashley's Regiment: 

"Jesse Elwell, Jabez Percival, John White, Eliphalet Hodges, Johnson 
Richardson, Francis West. 

"In Capt. J. Woodbridge's Co. Col. Tyler's Regiment: 
"Caesar Mirick, a negro, Gaius Stebbins, Oliver Sexton. 

The History of Wilbkaham 


"In Capt. Joseph Browning's Co. Col. Murray's Regiment: 
"Asa Hill, John Thwing, Israel Conant. 

"In Capt. Reuben Munn's Co. Col. Nathan Dyke's Regt. 

"Daniel Bliss, Sergt., James Eddy, Aaron Hitchcock, Zadock Stebbins, 
Corp., John Russell, Gamaliel Dunham, Jos. Bumpstead, Drummer, Peleg 

" In Capt. Phineas Stebbins Co. 1'' Hampshire County Regt: 

"Lieut. Gideon Kibbe. He also served as Lieut, in Capt. Samuel Burt's 
Co. Col Elisha Porter's Regt. 


Carried in the Revolutionary War by Lieut. Gideon Kibbe, 1776. His home 
was near the southwest corner of the original town of Wilbraham. 

"Soldiers who died or were killed in the Revolutionary War: 

"Benjamin Chob, 1775 Malam Dunham, 

Solomon King, " Joseph Butler, 

Nathaniel Miles, 1776 Daniel Warriner, 

Phanuel Warner, " Capt. Dan. Cadwell 

George Mirick, " Serj. Joseph Abbott 

Aaron Bliss, " Samuel Lyon 

Joseph Morris, " Moses Simons 

Benjamin RusseE " John Chaflfee 

Josiah Wright " Luther Ainsworth 

Joshua Leach " Isaac Skinner, by Indians 

"In all, 20. Killed in battle, 4. Died by disease, 16. 





The History of Wilbhaham 

"Revolutionary Pensioners: 

David Stebbins, $24.00 per year. 
Samuel Chapin, 24.00 
Stephen Merril, 24.00 

Learned, 96.00 

Chaffee, 24.00 

Reuben Hitchcock24.00 
John Hamlin, 96.00 
Charles Cooley, 36.00 
Robert Sessions 48.00 

Names of men in the war of 1812, for seven months: 

Ralph Bennett, Eleazar Hitchcock, Phineas Burr, Stephen Cadwell, 
Robert Sessions, Solomon Jones, Joel M. Lyman. 


"Ezra Barton, 


per year. 

Henry Wright, 


Levi Thayer, 


Samuel F. Mirick, 


Asaph King, 


Capt. Shidd, 






Samuel Lyman, 


District No. 3. 

Among the papers of Col. John Bliss of South Wilbraham, I 
have found the following Petition. It relates to the triangular 
piece of land in our town, known as "The Green." The school- 
house of District No. 3, is now located on it. An Act of the 

The History of Wilbraham 143 

Legislature was necessary to permit the erection of the school- 
house there. 

"Wilbraham April 25*" 1769, to the meeting of the Inhabit- 
ants of the town of Wilbraham this Day Convened. 

"Gentlemen there is a Comer or Wedge of Land being part 
of the overplus Land belonging to the Second or Middle Divi- 
sion of the Outward Commons so Called Containing about one 
acre more or Less and now xminclosed the same Bounded west 
upon the principal Highway in this town by Serg* Burts and 
there is in wedth near nine rods and runs thence Easterly 
about Fifty rods and ends in a point and also Lyeth South 
of the Highway which runs east and west upon the Said 
Overplus Land We, the subscribers therefore pray that this 
meeting will pass a vote that the said wedge of Land may 
be appropriated for the use of this town as Common Land or 

"Voted and Established as before mentioned." 

There was a library in Wilbraham much earlier than in many 
of the surrounding towns. I have not learned all I would like 
to know about it. I suppose that Solomon Warriner, the 
librarian, lived on the west side of Main Street, in the fourth 
house north of the Tinkham Road, where Mr. L. L. Stone lives 
now. At a later period there were libraries in some of the 
school districts. That in District No. 12, (now District No. 3) 
was kept by Reuben Pease, in his shoemaker's shop, on the east 
side of Main Street, which stood a little north of his house, now 
owned by the heirs of his son, George Pease, and occupied by 
Mrs. Miller. I drew books from that library about 1854. The 
school in that district was then held in the house now occupied 
as a dwelling by Rev. J. G. Willis. 


Evidently individuals bought shares in the same. Solomon 
Warriner, Librarian. I find 13 receipts, now in possession of 
C. S. Merrick, of some who sold their shares to others. 

(Copies of a few) 
■"January "-e 7—1782 

"To the Libryarian of the Libry Company of the town of 

■ 144 The History of Wilbkaham 

Wilbraham or any others that itt may Conseme this may 

Sertify that I have Sold to L' Jonathan Mirick my Rite In S"* 

Libry I therefore Desire you to Deale out to him as you would 

to me this from yours _,, . 

Phmeas Newton 

"This is to Sertify that I have sold my Wright in the Libery 
to Mr Daniel Hungerfoard the Bearer of these Lines; I desire 
you woidd Discord my name and Record his in the Room 
thereof in so doing you will Oblige 

yours &c Isaac Colton 

"Wilbraham November the 16"" 1789 

"To Mr. Solomon Warriner Libarien" 

"Springfield May 1=' 1786 

"To the Library Company of the Town of Wilbraham 
Gent" I beg to inform you, that at the time of the last meeting 
when I should have Carried my book in, the going was so bad 
on account of Crust upon the snow that it was almost impos- 
sible to have got there without going four or five miles round 
and the Same reason may (be) given for the other book which 
I have sent with mine draw^ by John Passo (?) on Justin 
Cooley right, I suppose, and as the Books are not very Valuable 
I suppose it was no great damage. I shall take it Very kindly 
if the meeting will excuse me & except the Books now 

" In so doing Gent" you will much oblige your most obedient 
& hum" Ser' 

John Horton" 

" I do here By Convey unto Gaius Brewer one Wright of my 
Libery in Wilbraham; & have Rec'' my pay and I would have 
you know? accordingly to Solomon Warriner Libreian 

"Springfield March 13, 1789 

Joel Day" 
"SomersSept 5 1781 

"These Certifie all whom It may Concern that Mr. Charles 
Sheldon of Somers hath purchased my Intierest In Wilbraham 



In the Stebbins History, at the foot of page 301, it says; 
"Josiah Langdon was a man of literary taste, and wrote con- 
siderable poetry in his day. His 'Song of the Hoe' is the best 

The History of Wilbkaham 145 

known." I am infonned that the origin of the story was about 
as follows: 

Stephen Newell, grandfather of Alonzo B. Newell, of the 
present town of Hampden, loaned a hoe to one of his neighbors, 
who did not return it for more than a year, and not until he 
had been repeatedly requested to do so. He finally brought it 
back, in the middle of a summer night, and placed the hoe 
against the kitchen door, with the handle resting on the door- 
step. When Mr. Newell opened the door in the morning, the 
hoe, broken and worthless, fell in upon the kitchen floor. I 
have secured a copy of the "Song" and insert it here. 


Good morning. Dear Master, you see I am come, 
'Twas late in the evening before I got home, 
I found you were sleeping — ^I tho't I'd not wake you 
For fear you would think twas a Sheriff to take you. 

So here I've been standing these five hours or more. 
This long Summer evening — to enter your door. 
Long time I've been missing, but now I return. 
And for my misconduct I heartily mourn. 

Now into your favor if you'll receive me, 
I'll always prove faithful and constant to. thee. 
Like the hound in the fable my teeth are worn out. 
Therefore don't correct me for this saucy bout. 

But remember when young, I hoed all your com, 
You ne'er had a better hoe since you were bom. 
You've often enquired who hoed with me last. 
But no one remembered when since it was past. 

The man whom you lent me to used me so bad, 
I ran away from him because I was mad. 
He did so much more and he hoed with me faster. 
Than e'er I was used to when with my old Master. 

That I was resolved to throw off my chain. 
And live 'long with my good old Master again; 
For when you hoed with me the most that I did 
Was to serve as a shore to prop up your head. 

146 The History of Wilbbaham 

So like the hound in the fable my teeth are worn out. 
Therefore don't correct me for this saucy bout; 
For when I was young I hoed all your com 
You ne'er had a better hoe since you were bom. 
I came from the Eastward you very well know. 

I am your Servant 

An Old Broken Hoe. 
My skulking place 
a thicket of weeds 
near Hovel Lane 

To show some of the business done in ancient days I insert 
the following. 

Copied from papers of Col. John Bliss, Esq., of South Wil- 
braham. Now in possession of Robert 0. Morris of Springfield. 

"To John Bliss Esq. one of the Justicies of the Peace within 
and for the County of Hampshire. 

"Complains upon oath Aaron Bliss of Monson a miner Son 
of Jacob Bliss Did on the thirteenth Day of Febuary at his 
Dwelling Did utter one Prophane oath by saying I wont (?) by 
God I will not go ought and Amos Beebe of Monson at the 
same time said by God i will not go out all which is Contrary 
to Law and a gainst the Peace of the Commonwealth and the 
Laws of the same Wherefore the Sai"* Aaron Bliss Prays that 
the sai"* Oliver Bliss and Amos Beebe may be apprehended and 
held to answer to Sai"! Complaint and delt with (in) relation to 
the same as to Law and Justice shall appertain Dated at 
Wilbraham the Seventh Day of March 1798 Aaron Bliss" 

"Hampshire S.S. The above named Aaron Bliss made oath 
to the truth of the foregoing Complaint this 7 day of March 

John Bliss Jus' Peace." 

"March 9 1798 then ReC^ of Jacob Bliss 66 Cents as a fine 
of his son oliver for one Prophane oath 

March 9 1798 then Rec"* of Amos Beebe a fine of sixty six 
Cents for one Prophane oath uttered by him 

John Bliss Jus' Peace" 

"The Town of Wilbraham to John Bliss. Dr. for Granting a 
Warrant to Canying Abigal Jones a poor Girl to Springfield 

The History of Wilbbaham 


Do. to Giving the Selectmen their Oath to a Pay Rool 0-1-0 
Do. to Giving a Warrant to Carry Merriam Wright a Poor 
Girl to Ludlow at the request of the Selectmen 
Wilbraham Feb 5-1784. John Bliss 
A true account Erors Excepted." 

"Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

to the Selectmen of Wilbraham Dr. 

November 24 1780 and Jan. 8 1781 

To 14 Shirts at £40 Each 

To 25 Pair of Stockings at £24 

To 22 Pair of Shows at £40 Each 

Delivered to Mr Luke Bliss of Springfield 

for the Continental army for which we 

have Mr Bliss receipt 
Transport ten miles 
Each of us one Day a Collecting Sai'^ 


I got Reuben Chase Receipt allowed for 
Sixty Seven Pounds ten Shillings 

The account of Mr Shaw's brought to this 
Page is one Hundred three pounds ten 

£560- 0-0 
£600- 0-0 
£880- 0-0 

2040- 0-0 
£30- 0-0 
105- 0-0 

2175- 0-0 

£2346- 0-0 

Got an order on Ezekel Russel from the 
treasurer for the money " 

(Probably for work on Meeting House, South Parish). 

"To Mr. Aaron Stebbins 3"^ Constable for Wilbraham 
Sir. Plese to pay to the several Persons hereafter Named 
the Sums afixt to each of their names 

to Robert Russel 

to Robert Sessions 

to Aaron Stebbins 2°'' 

to Aaron Stebbins 

to Abner Chapin 

to Leu' Samuel Sexton 

to Moses Stebbins 

























148 The History of Wilbkaham 

and their Receit Shall Discharge you So much on the ministry 
Rate Committid to you to Collect — Per me David Burt 
Parish Treasurer 
Wilbraham March 26'^ 1785 " ' 

" 1789 Paid bill of William King Jr. 7 pounds 10 shillings for 
work making Meeting House Doors." 

"May 13'h 1785 

"Chileab Brainard Merrick, yeoman, Samuel Fisk Merrick 
Gentleman, and Abigal Merrick widow, all of Wilbraham 
Executors of the Will of Noah Merrick, had an execution 
against John Davison of Monson for 1 pound 18 shillings 
Lawful Money. (No account of the property attatched.)" 

"1789 Samuel Fisk Merrick Gentleman of Wilbraham, got 
out an attatchment for 40 Shillings against Benjamin Swet- 
land, yeoman of Longmeadow Asaph King Dep. Sher. attatched 
1 chair, costs 10 Shillings 8 pence." 

"1793 Soloman Warriner, yeoman brought suit against 
Jesse Warriner yeoman, for a note of 10s, 6P. 

Asaph King Dep. Sher. attatched 1 hat." 

"Deposition of Joseph Abit 

" testifies and says that on or about the first Day of 

March 1790 I was in Company with Mr John Shearrer Jr. of 
said Palmer at Wilbraham and he had his team and sled with 
him and as we ware Comming by Mr Thomas Hayls we made 
a Little stop and s"* Hail come to the Sled and s^ why here you 
have got my Chain and then the S"* Shearrer s"^ is that your 
chain and the S"* Hale s^ yes this is my chain & the very Chain 
that I Lent to Noah Shearerr & I never could git it Before & 
now I mean to keep it & the S"* Hale takes the Chain from the 
Sled and said the Next time I lend him a chain I ges he will 
bring it home without my sending for it so often as I have for 
this one so he took the Chain away & carried it into the Black- 
smith Shop. 

"(signed) Joseph Abbott. Jan. 15 1791 
(acknowledged before a Justice.) " 

"Wilbraham April lO'*" 1794 

"To John Bliss ( &c) (condensed) 

John Williams — yeoman Complains — that Phebe Barton — 
Spinster, on the 9"" day of March, being Lords Day, did with 
voice and arms, within the walls of a House of Public worship. 

The Histoky of Wilbkaham 149 

then being in the time of PubUc worship, then and there 
behave Rudely & indecently, to the great disturbance of your 
complainant & divers good subjects of the Commonwealth." 
The Constable directed to aprehend the body of the S"* Phebe 
Barton to answer to the Complaint and to summon Lydia 
WUley, Pamell Patterson & Faimy Chaffee as witnesses. 


In the year 1794, the atmosphere of Wilbraham seems to 
have been unusually charged with religious activity and zeal. 
In that year eight parish fneetings were held by the first parish, 
to devise ways and means for moving the meeting house down 
from its high elevation on Wigwam Hill, into the village. For 
twelve years they had wrestled with the question of finding a 
location for it that would be acceptable to all. At different 
parish meetings during those twelve years, they had voted to 
move, and not to move; to repair; to build, to locate on 
"David Warriner's land east side of the road (about opposite 
the north end of ' Rich Hall ') ; to move the meeting-house on 
Charles Brewer's lot; .... to set it on the south side of Joseph 
Saxton's lot; in the centre of the street." (Probably a little south 
of the present road leading up to the Woodland Dell Cemetery.) 
But, on April 18th, 1794, they "Voted that the Committee 
heretofore appointed to. purchase a Place to set the Meeting 
House on be requested to proceed in purchasing the land of 
Jonathan Merrick — on behalf of the Parish for £33." And 
Gideon Burt, Joseph Sexton, ChUeab Merrick, Reuben Sikes, 
David Bliss, Stephen Cadwell, and Ebenezer Cadwell were 
chosen a committee "to contract for the moving of the Meeting 
House into the Street in this by themselves or hiring it done." 

The last parish meeting, held in the meeting house on Wig- 
wam Hill, was on April 18th, 1794. The next meeting, on May 
22, 1794, was held "at the School House near W° Brewers." 
On August 29th, "at the School House in the Street," and on 
September 11th "at the School House near the Meeting House." 
I have been told that the building was left in the highway, a 
little south of the road leading up to the Dell Cemetery, for 

150 The History of Wilbbaham 

two or three weeks, and that several members of the parish 
desired that it should remain there. (Perhaps this may account 
for the unusual width of our main street at that point.) But, 
probably, late in August or the first of September, 1794, it was 
moved on to the ground where the Congregational meeting 
house has since stood. 

The parish meetings of October 24 and November 3d in the 
year 1794, were also held at the schoolhouse, which was on the 
west side of Main Street, nearly opposite the meeting house. 

At the meeting November 3d, 1794, the meeting house was 
new seated. The names of 104 men and of 22 women, some of 
whom were widows, are given as being seated in the body of 
the house. 

In the gallery there were seated, 49 young men and 52 young 
women, whose names are given. Four of the young women 
were named Nabby, five Polly, and three Patty. Among the 
young men was seated "Black man Cadwell." 

If we assume that there were 100 wives seated with their 
husbands, there would be about 325 persons in all. The next 
parish meeting was held at the meeting house on January 26th, 
1795, and £413 was "voted and granted for the purpose of 
defraying the expenses of moving repairing and building the 
Meeting House and the Land on which it stands .... and all 
votes, and grants heretofore made for the purpose aforesaid be 

The Stebbins History says: "The tabernacle of the Lord is 
moved down from Wigwam Hill into the street with as much 
joy to all beholders as David moved the ark of the Lord from 
the house of Obed Edom into Jerusalem." 

And today, one hundred and nineteen years afterwards, we 
can rejoice that one of the causes of disturbance and division 
among the throngs that went up to the sanctuary on sabbath 
days, was at last removed out of the way. 

In those early days it was the practice to raise money for 
church expenses by assessing a tax on the property of the 
members, and while there was but one church here, the results 
were fairly satisfactory. But as other denominations were 

The History of Wilbraham 151 

formed, their members objected to paying the tax, and the 
parish passed many votes, at different times, granting to the 
Methodists and Baptists the taxes assessed against them. The 
first record that I have found is of the parish meeting held 
March 14th, 1786. 

"Granted to Collector Ebenezer Cadwell as follows; 
Sam" Torreys Rat(e)— £0-2-11-2 

Peter Walbridge Dito— 0-2-11-2 

Moses Graves Do — 0-3- 1- 

Jon^Sikes Do — 0-2-11-2" 

In 1796, the parish granted the following credits to the 

"To forberance of the Methodist taxes in Sam" Warner Jr. 
hands £5-9-11 

To forberance of the babtist taxes in Converse Cutlers 
hands £71-12-6 

To Comi"'^ order for the forbereance of babtist taxes in 
Luther Kilbons hands £7-16-1-2 ' ' 

It does not appear that the first parish were over-zealous in 
' collecting taxes from the members of other denominations, 
provided they were assured that they really did attend other 
services. In 1794, the assessors were instructed to leave 
twenty-four different persons, whose names are given, out of 
the tax list. 

Notwithstanding this clemency, there were still some dis- 
senters and dissatisfied ones, and evidently the following meet- 
ing was called by some of that class. 

(Note. The law provides, that if the Selectmen of a town, or 
the proper committee of a Religious Society, "unreasonablly 
refuse" to call a meeting of the town, or society, a Justice of 
the Peace may call such a meeting, upon the petition of a 
specified number of voters of such town or society. Within my 
recollection, a meeting of the town of Wilbraham was called in 
that way.) Apparently the parish committee had refused to 
call a meeting of the first .parish when requested so to do, and 

152 The Histoby of Wilbbaham 

one was called by Phineas Stebbins, Justice of the Peace. The 
Warrant for the meeting is directed as follows: 

"Hampshire S. S. to the Collector of the North Parish of the 
town of Wilbraham, or to Justin Stebbins one of the Petitioners 
of this Meeting or Eyther of them (etc.) that they meet and 
assemble at the Methodist Meeting house in S'^ Parish on the 
third day of February 1796 (etc.) 

"Art. 2, to see if the Parish will grant to the Methodists their 
tax for moving and Building the Meeting House now standing 
a little south of Will'" Brewers and their tax for the Support of 
Preaching in S"^ House in Converse Cutlers hands and to order 
the treasurer to Pay Back all the moneys Collected on S"* tax 
to the Persons of whom Collected. 

"Art. 3. 
"to see if the Parish will Call on the Baptist for their taxes now 
in the Collectors hands. 

"Art. S'^iy 
"to see if the Parish will grant an order that the moneys now 
taxed upon the Methodists & Baptists shall be appropriated to 
Building and Repairing their Respective Meeting Houses if 
the S* Parish shall not Grant the Second article in this War- 

The meeting was warned, not by the collector of the 
parish, as customary, but by one of the petitioners and 

"P' Me Justin Stebbins." 

Notwithstanding this meeting was called to meet at . the 
Methodist meeting house, the members of the North Parish 
were not caught napping, but gathered in such numbers that 
they were able to control the meeting, for one of their strongest 
members. Dr. Samuel F. Merrick, was chosen moderator. 

Under Article 2, they "Voted and Granted to Gains Brewer 
two Dollars for materials for the Steeple of the Meeting House 
which he once gave to the Parish." 

Also, "Voted and Granted to John Crain (?) his taxes in 
Converse Cutlers hands to Collect 1£-13-." 

Then, "Voted S"^ Meeting be Disolved. 

Reuben Sikes Parish Clerk." 

The History of Wilbbaham 153 

On April 11, 1809, the parish "Voted that the Baptists and 
Methodists in this Parish who when able with their families 
worship in their own way shall in future be left out of the 
Parish Tax Bills, Provided they attempt not to act in our parish 
meetings, and those who of that description worship thus, but 
their families with us, they shall be taxed with others, but half 
their taxes shall be abated." 

That would seem to have been a fair settlement of the 
troublesome question which had disturbed them for many 
years. On February 11, 1794, Rev. Joseph Lathrop, D.D., of 
West Springfield, the "moderate Calvinist," and peacemaker 
generally, preached a most acceptable sermon to the church, 
probably in the interest of harmony among them. At the parish 
meeting, three days later, or, on February 14, 1794, the parish 
chose a committee to "present to Joseph Lathrop D.D. the 
thanks of this Parish for his Ingenious & pertinent sermon 
delivered on the ll"' instant, and request a copy for the Press 
— and have the same printed at the expense of the Parish and 
deliver one Book to each Family in the Parish and a handsome 
Number to the Author .... to Defray the expense of printing 
out of sale of the rest." In a collection of several sermons and 
other pamphlets, owned by G. S. Atchinson of West Street, I 
have found a copy of that sermon, and insert a few extracts, 
and the title page. 

154 The Histohy of Wilbkaham 







North Parish of Wilbraham 

FEBRUARY 11, 1794. 

On Occasion of the DISMISSION of the 


From his Pastoral relation to the CHURCH and 
SOCIETY in that place. 




Printed at Springfield, Massachusetts, 


For a Church and Society in 


The Histoby of Wilbraham 155 

The Furtherance of the Gospel, &c. 

But I WOULD ye should understand, bretheren, 


Near the close of the sermon Dr. Lathrop said: 

"Even infidelity has been made to subserve the cause of 
Christianity. . . . : : 

"Disputes and divisions among christians are on many 
accounts, unhappy. They are found, however, to answer some 
valuable purposes. . . . YOU, my brother, who are now taking 
your aflEectionate leave of the people of your late charge, will 
find comfort in the application of this thought. 

"YOU here entered on your ministerial work with agreeable 
prospects: But by the hand of providence you have, for 
months past, been taken off from yovir publick labours. In 
the meantime, you have seen your people surrounded with 
dangers, and embarrassed with difficulties, of which you could 
only stand an anxious spectator. I can fully realize your pain- 
ful sensations, while you have looked out and beheld your 
flock, wandering for want of the shepherd's care, and felt your- 
self unable to watch over them, and provide for them suitable 

"THE consideration of your health, and of the peculiar cir- 
cumstances of your people, has led you to conclude, that your 
removal from them is a step pointed out in providence: And 
they have concurred in the sentiment 

"WHILE we lament your removal from this people, it is a 
pleasure to find that you stand well in their affection and 
esteem and they in yours. You will remember, and pray for 
them still. May God mark your path, and guide your future 
steps; may he restore your health, and appoint your lot in a 
pleasant place; may he make you extensively useful in life, 
and finally admit you to take a distinguished place among his 
good and faithful servants. 

"AND you, my brethren will also suffer a word of exhorta- 

156 ■ The History of Wilbbaham 

"WE take a sensible share with you in the painful feelings of 
this day. 

"THE long vacancy, which followed the death of your 
former pastor,'- seemed happily supplied in this his successor. 
But the prospect is now shaded. You are again exposed to the 
dangers of a vacancy, at a time too, when the great work of 
building a house of worship is before you, and unhappy divisions 
have taken place among you. We trust, however, it is the 
father's good pleasure to continue among you his kingdom. 
The things which have befallen you he can overrule to the 
promotion of the gospel. . . 

"YOU will not be content, that the stated ministry of the 
word should be long discontinued. You will take measures for 
the resettlement of it, as soon as prudence shall direct. In the 
meantime, you will endeavour to enjoy the preaching of the 
gospel, and will be diligent in your attendance upon it 

"YOU will treat with candotu- and tenderness those of your 
brethren, who have lately vnthdrawn from you. They took a 
hasty step in an hour of temptation. On calm reflection, it is 
hoped, they will feel their obligation to return, and walk hand 
in hand with you. Let your behaviour toward them be kind 
and friendly, and your language soft and winning. Walk in 
wisdom and meekness, considering yourselves, lest ye also be 

"ON this head I cannot more pertinently address you, than 
in the words of the Rev. JOHN WESLEY whose name, I 
suppose, you have often heard mentioned of late. 'Beware of 
schisms — of makiag a rent in the church of Christ. Inward 
disunion is the root of all contention, and every outward 
separation. Beware of everything tending thereto. Beware 
of a dividing spirit — shun whatever has the least aspect that way. 
Say not, "This is my preacher — the best preacher." This tends 
to foment division. Suffer not one thought of separating from 
your brethren. Beware of tempting others to separate from you. ' 

" IT is now with you a critical time. The shepherd is leaving 
you. If after his departure grievous wolves should enter in 
among you, not sparing the flock; yet of your ownselves let 
none arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples 
after them; but watch in all things; and remember, that you 
have been this day warned. Imitate the commendable example 
of the church of Ephesus, to whom Christ says, 'I know thy 

1 Rev. Noah Merrick — ^who was born August, 1711, ordained June, 1741, — died De- 
cember 22, 1776, being in tlie 66th year of his age, and 36th of his ministry. 

The History of Wilbbaham 157 

works and thy labour and thy patience, and how thou canst 
not bear them who are evil, and hast tried them who say, they 
are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.' Beware 
that ye fall not under Christ's censure on the church in Thya- 
tira, that she suffered some who falsely called themselves 
prophets, to teach, and to seduce his seivants. If you ask, how 
shall we prevent such from teaching and seducing? I answer 
in the words of the Apostle, AVOID THEM. . . . Never lay 
great weight upon small things, nor contend about trifles. Be 
united in pursuing the great things of religion; and then, in 
circumstantial matters, you will be disposed to please, each one 
his neighbour to edification. And I beseech you, brethren, for 
the Lord Jesus' sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you 
strive together in your prayers for the furtherance of the gospel 
among yourselves, in the churches around you, and, through 
the world. And may the God of all grace, who hath called us 
to his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, make you perfect, 
strengthen, stablish, and settle you. To him be glory and 
dominion, for ever and ever AMEN. 

On April 19th, 1796, the parish "voted to lease the pews in 
the Meeting House for the term of one year and the money 
appropriated for the support of the Gospel." 

This is the first record that I have found of any attempt to 
raise money by a system which has been followed most of the 
time since. April 16, 1798, Jason Chapin, Capt. James Shaw 
and Doctor Samuel F. Merrick were chosen "a committee to 
purchase a Bell," and 1200.00 was appropriated for that pur- 
pose. But the bell was not purchased at that time, for there is 
an article in the warrant for the meeting held April 14th, 1800, 
"to grant money for the use of purchasing a church Bell." 
But in 1802, a church bell was purchased and hung, and then, 
the first Sabbath bell of the mountains sounded its welcome call 
to the willing worshipers, as they wended their way from the 
banks of the Chicopee on the north and the southerly botinds of 
the parish on the south, from far "Burch Run" and chilling 
Rattlesnake Peak on the east, and the wonderful wilds of 
"World's End Meadow" on the west. All heard the call to 
come up and worship at the house of the Lord on every Sabbath 
day, and we may feel sure that their steps were lighter 

158 The History of Wilbraham 

and their hearts felt brighter as they heard and heeded the 

And the very next year they voted and granted $3.00 "to 
purchase a Bass Viol." And a few years later, they voted 
"$45.00 to hire a teacher of Psalmody among us." 

In 1807, they "Granted to Dan' Ladd, Jr. for playing the 
violin one year, $5.00," and in 1809 they "Voted to raise $5.00 
for to support the bass Viol." 

In 1805, a committee was chosen by the parish "to fence the 
burying ground near the Street," and at the same meeting, 
"Duty Partridge, Ebenezer Cadwell and Frederick Stebbins 
were chosen a committee to fence the burying ground over the 
Mountain," and $120.00 was appropriated for the work, and at 
the meeting held April 13, 1807, $25.00 was "Granted for 
painting Burying Yard fence." 

It appears from the above votes, that the town had not 
assumed charge of the burying grounds at that time. In this 
connection it may be of interest to copy a vote passed Decem- 
ber 2, 1782. "Voted that Jonathan Mirick Solomon Warriner 
Noah Warriner be a Commitee to fence the burying yard with 
Stone & with as much land as they think proper then voted and 
Granted £15 : : to fence the burying yard. Voted this sum 
be assest on the poles and Estates of the Inhabitants of this 
parish .... and each person be allowed to work out his rate 
as they Do at highways." 

About two weeks later, on December 17, 1782, they "Voted 
& reconsidered a vote past 2 December 1782 for fenceing 
the Burying yard with Stone & made the same nul and 

The yard to which most of these votes refer, is the one now 
called The Deacon Adams Cemetery, and the amount of land 
which the committee thought "proper," can be very readily 
traced there today. The original lot was enlarged in 1876 by 
an addition on the east side, and again in 1896 by a much larger 
addition on the north. 

A hearse house stood at the southeast comer of the original 
lot for many years, but was removed about 1871, and is now 

The History of Wilbraham 159 

used for the storage of liimber at the carriage shop near the 
north edge of our centre village. 

There is one other matter relating to this cemetery which 
perhaps ought to be mentioned. About 1859, a large company 
of the men of the town gathered there one day, for the purpose 
of cutting the brush, improving the yard and making a general 
clean-up of the grounds. In carrying out that "improvement," 
some of the headstones, as well as the footstones, along the 
southerly side of the yard, were moved a few inches, or two or 
three feet, to the north or south, as might be necessary, in order 
to bring them into line with the others. I, a boy, was there at 
the time and assisted in some of the work. I do not think any 
of the stones were moved entirely ofE the grave to which they 
belonged, or that any of them were moved to the east or west, 
but some of them are now from a few inches to two or 
three feet, north or south of where they were originally 

There are many things of much interest in this ancient bury- 
ing ground : 

The grave of Elizabeth Cockril, who died April 26th, 1741, 
and who was "y= first person y' was Bured in y= Mountains;" 

The grave of Timothy Merrick who died from the bite of a 
rattlesnake August 7, 1761 ; 

The table monument that marks the resting place of "The 
Revened and Worthy NOAH MERICK," who died "Dec. y' 
22, A.D. 1776," and of "Abigail his wife, who died Sep. 12, 1807, 
in the 98"" year of her age;" 

Also another table monument "In Memory of Deacon 
Nathaniel Warriner, who died Jan-^^ 10: 1780 In his 77"^ 

And the three stones which re-tell the tragedy of Nine Mile 
Pond, on April 29th, 1799. These, and many others there, 
impel us to regard with solemn reverence that consecrated 

It may be of interest to copy some of the parish expenses 
about that time. 

The History op Wilbraham 

In 1803, $2.00 was granted to paint the hangings of the Bell. 
1804, "Granted Reuben Colton $3.50 for joiner work for the 

In 1806, "Voted Gains Brewer 66 cents for repairing the 
ill." In 1813, "Paid Sally Bliss $3.00 for sweeping the 
eeting House one year." In the same year, "Paid Edward 
ebbins $1.50 for Ringing the Bell seven weeks." 
In 1825, "Paid Edwin Crocker for ringing the bell and 
eeping the Meeting House for one year $8.50. In 1815, they 
^ted $20.00 for tythingmen." 

The Stebbins history says: "In 1824, an attempt was made 
■ the town to obtain possession of the 'Minister Money,' 
pecially that portion of it realized by the sale of the ' Ministry 
)t.' It was unsuccessful, as it should have been, and the fund 
nains in the possession of the two parishes to this day." I 
id from the parish records that the first action seems to have 
en commenqed by the parish. On April 13, 1818, a com- 
^ttee was chosen by the parish "to request the Town tO' 
liver up to the Parish their proportion of the land loan money 
longing to s"* parish." 

April 12, 1819, "Com. chosen to confer with the other 
deties in this Parish respecting the loan Money & other 
ievances." On February 8, 1825, "Voted that Moses Burt 
an agent to confer with an agent chosen by the South Parish 
s"* town to recover the bonds belonging to s"* Parish out of 
e hands of the town, also to recover the interest due on s* 
nds out of the hands of the com. chosen to receive the same." 
have learned from the Records of the Supreme Court of 
impden County, that The North Parish brought a suit against 
e town of Wilbraham to recover $30.00 interest money, 
dmed to be due the parish, on the 4th Monday of November 
25, in the Court of Common Pleas. Judgment was given in 
ror of the town, apparently for the purpose of having the 
estion go to the Supreme Court for a final decision. The total 
mage claimed at first was $160.00, which was probably for 
;er^t due. The case was appealed and came before the 
preme Court the second Tuesday in May, 1826. Both 


The Histokt of Wilbraham 161 

parties agreed to the following statement of the case (which I 
have condensed) : 

"A Committee was appointed by the town in 1772 to sell or 
lease the Ministry lands. 

"The committee reported in 1773, that they had sold them, 
with a statement of the securities received, which report was 
accepted in town meeting. On Jxme 24, 1782, the town was 
divided into two parishes. North & South. The Act of division 
provided that each parish should enjoy an equal part of all 
moneys for the use of the ministry .... 

"At the time of the division there was in the town treasury 
a sum equal to $833 and one third of a dollar .... In 1789, the 
town voted that the committee having charge of the securities 
should annually pay to the ministers of the parishes, each one 
half of the interest. That for twenty years previous to 1824, 
the interest, 125.00 each year was paid, except when there was 
no settled minister in the North Parish, then it was paid to the 
Parish Treasurer. In 1824, the Town voted that the interest 
should be paid to the several religious societies, according to the 
proportion of the town tax which their members pay. There 
are other religious sodties not members of either parish. In 
1825, a committee of the parish demanded of the town their 
portion of the interest due, but it was not paid . . . . It is there- 
fore Considered by the Court that the said Inhabitants of the 
North Parish in Wilbraham do recover against the said Inhabit- 
ants of Wilbraham the stmi of Twenty six Dollars & seventy 
five cents Damages & Costs of suit taxed at fifty one Dollars & 
ninety five cents — Excu. I' (Execution Issued) Dec. 5"" 1826." 

About two weeks after this execution was issued, or on 
December 18, 1826, the parish chose "W"" Clark, Ebenezer R. 
Warner and Doc' Luther Brewer a Com to receive the bonds 
and to receipt to the town for the same, also to receive the 
interest on said bonds on the P' of Jan. next and pay it into 
the Parish treasury." On November 12, 1827, "Moses Buft, 
W" Clark and Aaron Woodward were chosen a Com. to change 
the bonds of the Parish into the name of the Parish and to take 
due care of and collect the interest on the same." 

In 1837, it was "Voted that the Bonds of the Parish be placed 
in the hands of the Treasurer of the Parish." It appears from 
this record of the Court, that the lawsuit was not an attempt 

162 The History of Wilbkaham 

of the town to get the "Minister Money" away from the 
parishes, but an effort of the parishes to get the securities for 
the fund into their own possession, and also to settle the ques- 
tion as to whom the ftmd belonged. For we learn from the 
vote of the town in 1824, that the voters had determined that 
the interest of the fund should be divided among the several 
religious societies, then in the town, and only a decision of the 
Supreme Court could permanently settle the question. The 
fund remains in the possession of the two parishes to this day. 
The parish paid to different persons a total of $69.35 for the 
expenses of the lawsuit, in connection with the transfer of those 
bonds. In 1829, the parish treasurer charges himself, "By 
Interest on Parish Loan $45.00." 

It is evident that the parish fund was loaned out to different 
persons for several years. 

In the parish treasurer's record I find the following: 

"Interest due from sundries, (sundry persons) on the Parish 
Loan for the year 1852. 

Jan. 1" Samuel F. Merrick $18.78 
" " Loren Phelps 13.87 

" " Benonia Atchinson 10.00 
" " Henry Burt 2.35 

" " Edmund Jones 6.00" 

In the same record for 1856 the amount loaned to different 
persons is stated as follows: 

"Interest Accotmt. 


F. Merrick note $312.94 interest 


























849.99 51.00" 

About 1855 and 1865 there were two legacies given to the 
parish of fifty dollars each, so that the sum now is $950.82. 
In 1868, the parish purchased their present parsonage, and as 

The History of Wilbraham 163 

those notes were paid, the money was used towards paying for 
the same, and a note was given by the parish committee to the 
"Parish Loan Committee" for the total amount, and the 
interest is paid annually by the parish. The first entry that I 
have found from this investment is, "Mar. ll"", 1872, Re<^^ 
interest on Parish Loan $38.05 " which sum is increased in 1876 
to $54.05 and remains the same at the present time. 

At the annual meeting of the parish in 1890, it was voted, 
"that the Parsonage shall be named the Deacon Warriner 
Parsonage, in honor of the first donor of money to the Parish." 
And so, one hundred and ten years after his death the memory 
of the good Deacon's act is perpetuated by a sxdtable memorial. 

The ftmd of the North (or first) Parish, now called "The 
Parish Loan," is as follows: 

From sale of the Ministry Lots, about 1773, $417.49 

Legacy from Deacon Nathaniel Warriner in 1780, 333.33 

Legacy from Gilling Atchinson in 1850, 100.00 

Legacy from Nathaniel Atchinson in 1855, 50.00 

Legacy from Marania Atchinson in 1865, 50.00 


Probably the South Parish, (now the First Congregational 
Society of Hampden) received the first two sums, the same as 
the North Parish, and of the same amoimt. 

I will copy a few items from the church records. 

During the 35 years that the church record was kept by the 
first minister. Rev. Noah Merrick, about 60 persons are recorded 
as having made public confession of their sin in breaking a cer- 
tain commandment, and were accepted, and had their children 
baptized. Several persons made public confession of "y* sin 
of stealing, of intemperate drinking, of evil speaking, and of a 
brea'''' of y* Sabbath, and aU were accepted." 

On "Oct. 15, 1775, Hannah, wife of Justin Stebbins, Br' 
Letter from y' C'''' in Palmer and admitted into C^." One 
week later appears this entry: "Ocf 22, 1775. upon some 
witness discovered by several of y* Ch"", with regard to y^ above 


The History of Wilbhaham 

vote, relative to y" S"* Hannah Stebbins, upon reconsideration 
it was unanimously Disanulled, it appearing y' she had a child 
bom in 7 months & five days, after marriage." 

On "April 26, 1785, At the house of Levi Bliss, the Rev. Mr. 
Baldwin Preached a sermon, at which time, Gaius, Gordon, 
Levi, Leonard, Patty, Catharine, Lucrecia and Asehath, chil- 
dren of the said Levi ; each of them were baptized at the desire 
of the said Levi's wife." Eight children in all. Fourteen 
years and three days later, or on April 29, 1799, three of those 
children, Gordon, Leonard and Asenath, were among those 

Probably erected about 1772. 

drowned in Nine Mile Pond. The house where Levi Bliss 
lived is still standing on the west side of our Main Street, about 
half a mile south of the B. & A. R. R. Station, and is now 
owned by William V. Patch. I will now copy part of one of 
the trivial questions which came before the church for considera- 

"Sunday, March 15, 1778, afternoon— Dea. Nathaniel 
Warriner desired the church to make a short stop after the 
exercise was over; The church complyed therewith. At which 

The Histoby of Wilbbaham 165 

time Dea" Warriner informed the chtirch that a complaint by 
the Wid" Mary Mirick against Doc' Samuel Fisk Mirick (then 
standing propounded for church membership) was lodged in 
his hands, to be communicated to the church. The motion was 
made and the complaint was read, which is as foUoweth. Vis. 
"To the Church of Christ in Wilbraham. The subscriber who 
am a member of said church sendeth greeting. Beloved; 
Whereas Doc' Sam' F. Mirrick stands propounded in order to 
be admitted a member of said chtirch. This is to inform that 
in my hiunble opinion, the said Doc' Mirick, cannot be received 
into church fellowship, under his present circtmistances, con- 
sistent with the honour of religion and the dignity of Christ's 
church. He having disqualified himself by his saying, on a 
certain day last simuner, at my house; that a certain note that 
he had against me, was found at the bottom of the chest, and 
at another time, on the same day, said that the said note was 
found among loose papers; a few days after which, at the 
house then occupied by William King Junr. ; he, the said Mir- 
rick, wholly denyed that he said so, but said, that if he said so, 
he told an absolute lie, and then added and said, that the said 
note was found on file and amongst his Father's other notes. 
All which appears to me to be so inconsistent with real truth 
that it amounts to a degree of falsehood and a censurable 
violation of the Ninth Commandment, and contrary to 
Zachariah 8"* Chap. & IG"" verse, and although endeavors have 
been used, in order to reclaim him and bring him to repentance, 
agreable to Matthew IS"" Chap. 15"" & 16"^ verses, he con- 
tinues obstinately to refuse to receive conviction, and be 
released from his fault. And now Beloved Bretheren I must 
intreat you to defer the receiving the said Mirick into our com- 
munion, 'till he is reclaimed from his sin and that you would 
proceed to such measures as the Gospel directs in order to 
effect the same. 



'Wilbraham, March IS'^ 1778. 

' To the care of Dea. Nathaniel Warriner to be commtmicated 
to the church.' 

"The question was put whether the church would act or do 
anything in consequence of the beforegoing complaint. It was 
voted in the afifinnative. Then it was proposed that some 
future time and some weekday should be agreed upon for further 
prosecution. Accordingly it was unanimously agreed and 
voted that Thursday, the 26"" day of this instant, March, at 

166 The History of Wilbraham 

one of the clock in the afternoon, should be the time for hearing 
party and party, and to agree and pass such other votes as the 
matter should then require. The church then dispersed." 

The meeting was held, "the Complaint was red, and Doctor 
Mirick Denys his being guilty of the Charge — The witnesses 
were called & Sworn. Viz. Mr. Ezra Barker and Mr. Jonathan 
Mirick to Prove the charge, Mrs. Mirick, and Mr. Chiliab 
Mirick in opposition. The case being opened and Pleas made 
on either side, and the C'"'' Having Considered the matter 
Maturely, the question was Put, whether the afore^"* Com- 
plaint, Exhibited against Doc' Mirick, was supported, it passed 
in the Negative, the C"*" meeting was Disolved. 
'Test, Moses Stebbins Clerk 

for s* meeting." 

What silly proceedings, making a police court of the church. 
At the meeting held "Lord's Day, July 26, 1778, Doct Sam" 
Fisk Mirick was Rec"* a member in fiill Communion with this 

Qhh " / 

Dr. Merrick was quite a prominent man in those days. He 
was surgeon in Colonel Porter's regiment which marched in 
1776, to reinforce the Northern Army. He made the address, 
in the meeting house, in 1831, at the celebration of the 100th 
anniversary of the settlement of our town. In his later years 
he became hard of hearing, and I have been told, by those who 
knew him, that on Sundays he used to sit on the steps leading 
up into the pulpit, and if the preacher said anything with 
which he did not agree, he would say, "Don't believe it, don't 
believe it." 

The society has had four different meeting houses. The first 
was used on Wigwam Hill for about 46 years, 1748, to 1794, 
when it was moved down to the site of the present church, where 
it continued to be used for about 64 years longer, or until the 
spring of 1857, when, after a service of 110 years, it was moved 
a little way to the northeast, to the ground where the livery 
stable now is, and was converted into a bam, and a new meeting 
house erected. 

The History of Wilbbaham 167 

I attended services in the original one for a few years, and 
there are a few others here who attended there for a longer 
period. There was a gallery on three sides of the house. One 
of these, on the west end, was reserved for the singers and the 
players upon instruments. That on the north side was occupied 
by the boys, and I was seated with them. The other, on the 
south side, may have been used by the girls. I am. not very' 
clear in my recollection about that. The pulpit was at the 
east end of the building and there were two aisles between the 
pews. The outer tier of pews joined onto the sides of the 

The seating of the meeting house was a heart-burning and 
almost a heart-breaking experience. 

A committee was frequently chosen to assign a seat to each 
person, or family, and questions of precedence were most care- 
ftilly discussed by them. But their arrangement of the seatings 
was hardly ever satisfactory to everyone. On one occasion a 
woman, who had come to mature years and had never married, 
felt that she had not been assigned a seat in accordance with her 
importance, and she never occupied it, but carried a chair to 
the meeting house, on Sabbath days, and sat in the aisle near 
the pew where she felt she belonged. I have heard Dr. Kibbe 
and his wife tell that story, and laugh over it, more than once, 
but I do not remember her name. 

The second meeting house was erected in 1857, and served its 
useful purpose for only 20 years. The basement was finished, 
and used for evening meetings and social gatherings. On the 
afternoon of Sunday, June 24th, 1877, the 136th anniversary 
of the founding of the church, a four or five-years old boy, rest- 
less and unwatched, wandered around the building, and finding a 
basement window open, crept in and looked around. In a stove 
he found a quantity of loose papers, and perhaps he added other 
material. Climbing up to the top of a cupboard, he found the tin 
pail in which the matches were carefully kept. He set the papers 
on fire. The stove had not been in use for some time and was not 
connected by a pipe with the chinmey, and soon clouds of 
smoke were pouring out of the windows. The pastor. Rev. 

168 The History of Wilbbaham 

M. S. Howard, from the parsonage window across the street, 
saw the smoke, and rushing- over to the meeting house, rang 
with all his might the dreaded and dreadful fire alarm, con- 
tinuing at the task while the swift flame moimted up into the 
belfry and threatened to throw the steeple down upon him. 
So the "First Sabbath bell of the mountains," which had so 
often tolled the knell of others, passing on their way to the place 
appointed for all the living, as its last service, rang out the 
tidings of«its own doom. When the evening shadows gathered, 
the meeting house, also the one which had been converted into 
a bam, and four dwelling houses, standing northerly of the 
meeting house, with their out-buildings, were smoking heaps 
of ruins. A bam on the lot where the soldiers' monument now 
is, was torn down to prevent the fire spreading further. A fire 
engine came from Springfield, but could do nothing. So, both 
of the buildings which had served as meeting houses for this 
society, perished on the same day. The first had weathered the 
winds of 130 winters, the second had stood but 20 years. 

The third meeting house was commenced immediately, and 
the chapel part was ready for use late in the autumn, and the 
building was dedicated June 26, 1878, and, as an evidence of 
the zeal and enthusiasm of the members of the parish, I will 
mention that they made the steeple ten feet higher than it was 
on the old one. It was a beautiful and commodious building 
and all of the rooms were on the same floor, and it served its 
noble purpose for 34 years, until that dreadful 5th day of July, 
1911, when, about the middle of the afternoon, in the midst of a 
most terrific wind and electric storm, the fire came down from 
the lightning-charged clouds, and seized first upon the topmost 
part of the slender spire, which had been for so many years an 
impressive land-mark from many miles around. And from that 
high point, the fire, working at first slowly but surely downward, 
soon enveloped the entire building and, before evening, only 
a few charred and blackened timbers and twisted iron rods 
remained of the meeting house which all of us had loved. The 
outlook for a new building, in view of the prevailing high prices, 
was not very favorable at first. But the members of the society 

170 Th3b History of Wilbhaham 

were not discouraged, and entering upon the task with some such 
energy and zeal as had characterized the fathers, subscriptions 
for about $9,000 were secured, which, with about $8,000 
derived from the insurance and interest on the same, was 
sufficient to erect a new meeting house at a total cost of about 
$17,000, which was dedicated Sunday, May 11th, 1913, with 
all bills paid. And again the members of the old First Parish 
have a chtirch home of their own. By the kindness of the 
Methodist society, union services have been held in their 
church for the past two years, which it is expected will be con- 
tinued, a part of the time in each church. On May 25, 1817, 
twenty-seven children were baptized at one service, by a visit- 
ing pastor. Rev. Mr. Colton of Palmer. Nine families were 
represented; only one of them now residing in town, as follows: 
"Lorin, Sarah, Ann, & Lucinda, children of Roswell Phelps 
were baptised." 

There were also six children of Samuel Warner. 

On April, 29th 1799, occurred the sad tragedy of Nine Mile 
Pond, when five of the young people of Wilbraham, and a Mr. 
Guy Johnson of Tolland, Conn., were drowned there, by the 
overturning of a boat in which they were sailing. The house 
where they were having the "Merry Making," is still standing 
on the west side of our Main Street, about half a mile south of 
the B. & A. R. R. Station, and is now owned by William V. 
Patch. The land, on which the house stands, is probably part 
of the ministry lot in the second division, for on June 8, 1772, 
Levi Bliss purchased the entire width of the ministry lot from 
the "principal road in said Wilbraham westward to the inward 
commons." The width was 37 rods and 4 feet, and the lot con- 
tained about 161 acres. I have found the deed recorded with 
the Registry of Deeds in Springfield. Levi Bliss was father of 
three of the young people who were drowned. 

The story is well told by copying, in part, the account written 
at the time and published, with three of the funeral sermons, in 
a small voluHie, "Printed at Springfield" in 1799. The title 
page of this Volume is as follows : 

The History of Wilbraham 171 

"The Living Warned to be Prepared for Death. 


Occasioned by the 


Who were drowned in a pond in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 
April 29, 1799: 

And Delivered May 2 when the funeral of five of 
them was attended 


Pastor of a Church in Somers, Connecticut. To which is 
subjoined Two Discourses. 

Delivered in Wilbraham May 12, '99 on the 
Same occasion 


Pastor of the North Church in Wilbraham Together with an 

Appendix giving some account of the particulars 

of the Melancholy Event." 

172 The History of Wilbraham 

The Appendix is as follows: 

"In a circle of young ladies assembled for the purpose of 
spending the afternoon of the 29th of April 1799. at the house of 
Mr Levi Bliss in Wilbraham, a proposition was made and 
agreed to by some of the company to form a sailing party on a 
pond at a little distance. After tea they repaired to the pond, 
some on foot, by a short route, and some on horseback. Mr 
Gordon Bliss, Miss Asenath Bliss, Miss Nabby Merrick and 
Miss Mary Warriner, who walked, and Mr Leonard Bliss who 
rode before the others, reached the pond first. When the young 
ladies on horseback, who kept the road and who were accident- 
ally delayed a little on the way, arrived at the pond they dis- 
covered their companions above mentioned, and a Mr Guy 
Johnson, already in the boat, under full sail. They retired to a 
house a few rods distant, where they witnessed the distressing 
scene that followed. The wind was high and flawy. The boat 
had not proceeded far before it was careened down by a strong 
gust so as probably to dip water. The young ladies immedi- 
ately sprang to the upper side of the boat. As the wind slack- 
ened, the boat righted, and stood with rapidity, across the 
pond. When within a little distance of a point of land projecting 
from the opposite shore, it came within the influence of a strong 
current of wind which, when high and blowing in the direction 
it then did, necessarily passes, from the situation of the adjacent 
lands, with considerable violence over that region of the pond. 

"Whether attempting to heave about, to tack in order to 
avoid the point, or in a direct course is uncertain; but the boat 
immediately caught the gale, leisurely overset, filled and sank. 
The distance, the foaming of the water, and more partictdarly 
the terror and consternation of the young ladies in the house, 
prevented their observing with accuracy the remaining part of 
the distressing scene. They well remember, however, to have 
seen a part, at least, of their companions floating for some time 
on the water. Theynoticed particularly the red skirts and white 
bonnets of one or two of the young ladies. But whether they 
sank and rose again, and how often, they cannot with certainty 

"The woman of the house, less affrighted than her agitated 
guests, encouraged them for some time, with the undoubted 
prospect, as the gentlemen were swimmers and they appeared 
to be nigh the shore, of their getting safe to land. They soon, 
however, lost all hope of their escape — ^for, to their inex- 
pressible astonishment, they perceived them beginning to 

The Histoet of Wilbbaham 173 

disappear, one after another, till at length nothing was to be 
seen but a solitary hat or two floating upon the surface of the 

"They were overset about 6 o'clock. There was no help at 
hand, the place where they were was difficult of access, on 
account of swamps and brush, and there being no boat short 
of an adjacent pond. In consequence of these and other im- 
pediments, the bodies all lay in the water till nearly 8 o'clock, 
when Mr. Leonard Bliss and Mr Johnson were taken out, and a 
short time after Miss Warriner. But with all the remedies 
resorted to under existing disadvantageous circumstances, no 
signs of retiutiing life appeared. In the morning of the next 
day, Mr. Gordon Bliss and Miss Asenath Bliss were found. 
Constant search was made for Miss Merrick. On the second 
day of May the five above mentioned were interred. The most 
unwearied exertions continued to be made for a number of days 
by a large body of men, with a variety of instruments. Their 
uncommon and persevering engagedness urged them to the 
herculean labor of draining the pond of its vast quantity of 
water; but all in vain. At length, on the morning of the IS"" 
of May, when all attempts to recover her were in a great 
measure given over as fruitless, the body was discovered by 
travelers, drifting before a gentle breeze toward the shore where 
it had a short time before taken its fatal departure. The body 
was entire, but had become very tender, none of the features of 
the face were retained, and soon after exposure to the air it 
became bloated and discolored. It was interred the morning 

"The depth of water where the boat went down was more 
than 20 feet, and the distance from shore about six or seven 
rods. Why three swimmers, and two of them good ones, should 
not only suffer the three young ladies to drown, but likewise to 
drown themselves so nigh land, has been a subject of various 
conjecttu-e. It has been thought probable, by some, that one 
or two, at least, of the gentlemen were impeded in their exer- 
tions, by attempts to save the ladies, and some circumstances 
seem to favor the supposition, but no decided evidence of it 
was discovered. Mr. Johnson belonged in Tolland, Conn., the 
others were all of the North society ia Wilbraham. Three of 
them were children of Mr. Levi Bliss, and were buried in one 
grave; one of them a daughter of Dr. Samuel F. Merrick, and 
the other a daughter of the Widow Mary Warriner. The young 
men were between 20 and 30 and the yoimg ladies between 15 
and 16 years of age. Man also knoweth not his time; as the 

174 The History op Wilbkaham 

fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are 
caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil 
time, when it falleth suddenly upon them." 

So runs the story of the great tragedy of Wilbraham. All the 
surrounding towns sent help to assist in recovering the body of 
Abigail Merrick of whom it was said "The Lord hath given her 
burial ; let be. " A ditch was cut through the open fields, leading 
off to the west, which must have lowered the water at least one 
foot, and still remains as an outlet to the pond. The water now 
flows into the Chicopee, instead of the Connecticut River. A 
heavy cannon was drawn from Springfield with the hope that 
the concussion caused by firing it might bring the body to the 
surface. The shadows of mid-afternoon were lengthening across 
the fields, when the lolling dust-covered oxen dragged the heavy 
cannon on to an elevation west of the pond, and its mighty 
voice called again and again across the dark waters for the dead 
to arise. The long reverberations, rolling far away to the south- 
ward, sounded to the listening dwellers along the mountain 
side, like the tolling of some monster funeral bell, for the buried 
of the Lord. But the sleeper heeded not, nor heard the call and 
undisturbed slept on. The waters were not yet willing to give 
up their secret. The excitement wore itself away in the general 
conviction that Abigail Merrick had found her final sepulcher. 
On the morning of the sixteenth day after the accident, two 
travelers passing along the old Bay Road, saw something float- 
ing out in the center of the pond. A gentle south wind was 
wafting it slowly shoreward, and the long-hidden body was 
soon brought, by willing hands, safely to land, and is now laid 
side by side with much kindred dust. 

To add to the woe of this God-fearing people, their pastor 
was absent, and the fimeral services for the five were conducted 
by Rev. Charles Backus of Somers, Conn. Rev. Mr. Witter, 
the pastor, preached two memorial sermons the following' 
Sunday, May 12. Sickness prevented his being with Dr. 
Merrick's family when Miss Merrick was recovered from the 
water, and her funeral was conducted by a Rev. Mr. Vermilyes 

The Histokt of Wilbkaham 175 

the morning of May 16. This event made such a profound 
impression throughout this region, that the boat was placed on 
a wagon, draped in black, and taken through many of the 
towns of the Connecticut valley. 

If you will search among the headstones near the center of 
the old Adams burial ground, you may there read on the moss- 
grown lettered stones, this same story. 

"In memory of 
Miss Mary Daughter 

of Dn. Noah and 

Mrs Mary Warriner 

Was drowned in a 

pond in Wilbraham 

together with five others 

on the 29 of 

April 1799 in the 

16 year of her age. 

Bost not thyself of tomorrow for thou 

knowest not what a day may bring forth." 

The footstone bears a carved six-petaled flower about the 
following inscription: — 

M. W. 

The inscription on Miss Merrick's stone reads : — 


Dautr of Doc Samuel 

F. Merrick & Mrs Sarah 

his wife was drowned 

with five others in a 

Pond three miles 

from this place 

April 29"^ 1799. 

In the 16 year of 

her age, and after 

l3dng in the water 

more than fifteen 

days was taken out 

and is here interred." 

176 The History of Wilbkaham 

The inscription on the stone of the Bliss children follows: — 

"In memory of three 
unfortinate Children 
of Mr Levi and Mrs 
Martha Bliss. Viz 
Gordon aged 28 
Leonard 22 Asenath 
16 years who were 
drowned in nine mile 
pond in this town April 
29. A. D. 1799. 
Pleasant they lived, nor did their pleasure cloy ; 
Each day presented some new scene of joy. 
By nature near, nearer by love allyd. 
No chance could part them nor stem death devide. 
Together they their hapless fate bemoaned. 
Together languished and together groaned: 
Together too, the unbodied spirits fled. 
And sought the unknown regions of the dead." , 

About 1870, I discovered a copy of the following "Ode," in 
an album once owned by Esther M. Isham and probably copied 
into it about 1850. About 1860, I saw another copy, which I 
think is the same, then in the possession of Gilbert S. Atchinson. 


Hark ! hear the tidings, WUbraham in mourning. 
Girded in sackcloth, and her cries ascending; 
Fathers and mothers weeping for their children. 
Deep in the billows. 

Six youthful persons, for their own diversion. 
See them a-hastening to a pond for sailing ; 
As soon embarked, see them plunged headlong ; 
Sight how affecting. 

Oh the distraction of the few beholders. 
Just now a-pleading for a passage with them, 
Now hear them screaming, running, crying, 
Cannot relieve them. 

The History of Wilbkaham 177 

Now see them sinking, rising, floating; 
Death seizes on them, tender life is jdelding; 
Now see them sinking watery tombs receive them; 
Rising no more. 

Now tidings spread, now clothes the street in mourning ; 
See horses running, men and women flying; 
Each heart is pained and the ground bedewed 
With flowing tears. 

Oh the distraction of the tender parents ! 
See them advancing, overwhelmed in sorrow; 
Read in their faces anguish in their bosoms, 
Pleading within them. 

See them in anguish walking the mournful shore. 
Looking and wishing, had they arms to reach them. 
Willing to plunge the watery mansions for them. 
Prudence refuses. 

Now grief within them struggles for a passage ; 
Crys out in anguish, Jesus send thine angels 
With some refreshing waters from the fountain, 
Or we shall perish. 

While some are mourning others are a-sounding. 
Searching the bottom for the drowned bodies; 
Deep from the watery tombs they quickly raise them. 
One still remains. 

Now on the mournful shore the corpses are lying, 
Just now aU action, little thinking danger. 
Now hearing judgment from the great Redeemer, 
Not to be altered. 

Oh see the parents bending o'er the bodies; 
See tender mothers wipe their drowned faces. 
Oh say. Spectators, did you read the anguish 
Wrote in their faces? 

Are these oiir children? Oh how cold and lifeless. 
Death, dust and ashes, cold as clay their faces. 
Mothers sit in silence, sleep in death's embraces 
But still our passions. 

178 The History of Wilbkaham 

Wisdom hath mingled this cup of trembling; 
May we not mtirmur, but with patience drink it; 
Parents of heaven, while we wade the billows, 
Hold us from sinking. 

Just are Thy dealings, Thy decrees eternal. 
Let not sinful mortals question wisdom; 
Never wish to turn a leaf of heaven's secrets, 
Waiting contented. 

Graves are prepared and the day appointed, 
Thousands attend the solemn day of mourning, 
While from the desk a solemn warning given, 
Each heart is bleeding. 

Once more behold the poor, distressed mourners; 
See them approaching near the breathless bodies; 
Read in their faces the tender ties of parents, 
Mingling their sorrows. 

See them advancing to the silent mansions. 
In solemn order see the string of coffins 
Borne up by bearers and a train of mourners 
Following in tears. 

Farewell our children, till the great archangel 
Shakes the creation with the trump of heaven. 
Then hope to meet your children, joined with 
saints and angels, 
Hail the Redeemer. 

In an account of this sad event, written by Miss E. 0. Beebe, 
and published recently, is the following "Ode." 

Behold God shake His awful hand 
Over the town of Wilbraham. 
And there He let stem Justice fly 
And winged Vengeance from on high. 
He makes ye mortals for to know 
Where He commands His wrath shall go ; 
And may ye tremble at that day 
When He did snatch your friends away. 

The History of Wilbkaham 179 

That day the sun in splendor rose 
To wake each sold from its repose. 
It was in April ninety-nine, 
These few young maidens did combine. 
A visit they had planned to make 
And for that end their way did take 
To Mr Bliss's in the street 
Where they in harmony did meet. 
And being young they sought to speed 
Not knowing what God had decreed. 
A sailing voyage they did propose 
And there each one their party chose. 
Now Mr Gordon Bliss made one, 
With him Miss Nabby Merrick run. 
And Miss Asenath Bliss made three, 
With her Miss Warriner did agree. 

These four, they ran with hasty speed, 
While Leonard Bliss before did ride. 
And these across the lots set out 
While others went another route. 
How swift and dreadful was their flight 
From Mr Bliss's out of sight : 
At length they came unto the shore 
And viewed their pleasure as before. 

These their companions did outrun. 
At length unto the boat they Came 
And they with Johnson leaped in 
And hoisted sail up to the wind. 
With fresh delight and pleasant breeze 
They ran across their little seas. 
And in attempting to turn 'round 
A gale of wind did cast them down. 

Oh solemn, solemn, solemn scenes ! 
To hear their screeches and their screams 
While sinking down beneath the waves 
And drinking death in gasping graves ! 
Oh, Lord, how must those creatures feel 
When their dear souls began to reel, 
And their companions on the shore, 
To see them sink to rise no more? 

180 The Histoet of Wilbraham 

There each of them they lost their breath 

In the cold, icy arms of death. 

And bid a long and last farewell 

To all this side of heaven and hell. 

To gain their Hves was all their aim, 

But all attempts did prove in vain: 

It was an instance very fare 

That three good swimmers drownded there. 

Not more than six yards from the shore 
On the next day they fotind two more. 
From neighboring towns vast numbers met 
The sorrowing mourners for to greet 
And take a final, last survey 
Of the pale lumps of lifeless clay. 
Now there is one was left behind. 
Miss Nabby Merrick was confined. 

Her body tmder water lay 

Until the revolving sixteenth day. 

Both day and night they searched around 

But nothing of her could be foimd. 

Until some travelers passing by, 

They saw her on the water lie. 

She was conveyed back to the town 

And laid in the cold and silent ground. 

And so the sad story is concluded. 

A brief account of the efforts to increase the fish supply of 
this pond may be of interest. 

On January 10th, 1871, the State of Massachusetts leased 
the pond to Mr. B. F. Bowles of Springfield for ten years. He 
put about 50 black bass, of small size, in the pond. The lease 
became void. On March 1st, 1877, the town took a lease for 
15 years, and at the next town meeting appropriated $150 for 
stocking the pond with new fish, and elected a committee to 
attend to the business. On May 5, 1877, about 6000 land- 
locked salmon fry were procured from the State Commissioners 
and placed in the pond, and in October of the same year, 27 
black bass, of an average weight of one and one-half pounds 

The History of Wilbkaham 181 

each, were procured of Mr. Robert Holmes of Wareham, Mass., 
and placed in the pond in good condition. 

The total expense was $118.40. All fishing in the pond was 
prohibited for four years, and then only allowed to residents 
of the town who had procured a permit from the Fish Com- 
missioners of the town. In 1881, fishing was permitted on 
Thursday of each week from July Lst, to November 1st. One 
hundred and four permits were issued. Each permit included 
the family of the holder, and about two-thirds of those who 
received a permit made a return of the number of potmds of 
fish caught, with the following result. 

Potmds of bass caught, 583^^ 
Pounds of pickerel caught, 121 
Pounds of other fish, 84 

Total amount returned, 263J^ pounds. 

Some very large black bass, weighing from five to twelve 
pounds, were caught in 1881 and 1882. I do not know that any 
land-locked salmon were ever caught there. After a few years 
the lease was abandoned. 

The Fish Committee were, Chauncey E. Peck, Calvin G. 
Robbins, Samuel M. Bliss. 

In the year 1894, The Springfield Bicycle Club erected a club 
house on the east side of the pond. The name of the club was 
afterwards changed to Manchonis Club. And so the original 
name of the pond, "Manchonis Pond," is preserved. 

In recent years some ten or fifteen bimgalows, or summer 
houses, have been erected on the westerly side of the pond, and 
on the northerly side of the peninsula which juts out from the 
east side of the pond, near its center, making quite a change in 
its general appearance. 

182 The History of Wilbraham 


Only a few months more than six years after the sad accident 
at Nine Mile Pond, occurred the horrid murder of .Marcus Lyon. 

None of the principals in the affair were residents of this 
town, but the crime was committed here, on the old Bay Road, 
about one-third of a mile east of the present Railroad Station. 

The two men who committed the murder were traveling from 
Boston to New York. " They lodged in Western (now Warren) 
on the night of November 8th. On the forenoon of the next 
day they called at a Store in Palmer, near the meeting house, 
and took some spirit in a canister; about two miles from this 
towards Wilbraham they soon called at a Tavern and drank." 
(There was a tavern across the road from the "Washington 
Elm.") These two men were seen traveling with great speed 
towards Springfield, and' when they arrived there, "they 
directed their course to the lower ferry. . . . They called for 
some hasty refreshment at a tavern in the upper part of Suffield, 
and then pushed on to Picket's tavern in Windsor, where they 
remained over night. On Sunday morning they started early 
and had breakfast in Hartford. On Tuesday morning they 
were in Greenwich, and at Cross-Cob harbor, where they had 
bespoke a passage to New York, by water, to sail shortly. 
While they were there the pursuers came up and arrested 
them. . . . They were from Tuesday until Saturday on their 
way from Boston to Wilbraham, a distance of about 80 miles. 
And from the afternoon of Saturday to the forenoon of Tues- 
day, when they were, arrested, they had travelled about 130 
miles. . . . (or) at the rate of nearly 50 miles a day. . . . April 
24, 1806, in the morning, the trial commenced in the meeting- 
house, in Northampton, which was insufficient to hold the crowd 
collected from various quarters." A preliminary hearing of 
the case was held in the "Town House" at Springfield on the 
Friday after they were arrested, where they were ordered to be 
committed for trial before a regular session of the Court. I 
have gathered the above items from a long account of the 
affair, published by Ezekiel Terry about 1810. 

The History of Wilbraham 183 

The men who found the body of the murdered man in the 
river, were M. K. Bartlett and P. Bliss. It was found "about 
9 o clock in the evening of Sunday Nov. lO"" 1805, and was 
conveyed in a waggon to the Stage house, occupied by Asa 

I now copy part of an account, published at, or near the time, 
and republished in a History of Massachusetts about 1835. 

The following is from the Massachusetts Spy (Worcester) 
November 20th, 1805. 

"Mr Thomas Jun. Sir. 

I have written the following at the earnest request of the 
relatives of the deceased. Please to give it a place in your paper, 
and you will gratify the public, and discharge a duty which 
humanity imposes. 

Your real friend 

Z. L. L. 

Horrid Murder and Robbery 

"Mr. Marcus Lyon, a young man of peculiar respectability, 
about 23 years of age, left his friends in Woodstock, Conn., 
last March, and went to Cazenovia, N. Y., and labored through 
the season. As he was on his return to his native place, 
•mounted on an excellent horse, he was attacked by two merci- 
less ruffians in Wilbraham, on the Springfield turnpike road, 
between the gate and Sikes tavern, on the 9"" inst, about 
2 o'clock P. M., and there murdered in the most barbarous 
manner. The circumstances attending the awful scene are 
almost too shocking to humanity to relate. It is supposed 
from the best circumstantial evidence, that the unfortunate 
young gentleman was first shot with a pistol; but the assassins, 
perceiving the wound not fatal (as the ball was afterwards 
found on the outside of his ribs) fell upon him like blood- 
hounds, and with a club and breech of the pistol mangled and 
lacerated his head in a most savage, and barbarous manner. 
The upper part of his head over the cerebrum, and also over his 
left eye, was indented with wounds, evidently made with the 
cock of the pistol, and the back part, against the cerebellum, 
was all mashed to a pulp. They beat hina till the guard of the 
pistol flew off and the ramrod was knocked out, which were 
afterwards found lying on the fatal spot. Having thus far 
gratified their infernal disposition, they robbed him of his 

184 The History of Wilbeaham 

pocket-book (how much money it contained we are not able to 
inform), then threw him over the wall, dragged him a few rods 
to Chicopee river, and there deposited him, and placed large 
fiat stones upon his head to prevent his rising. Without delay 
they next conveyed the horse through a small piece of wood to 
a sequestered enclosure, and then turned him loose, with saddle, 
saddle-bags and bridle on, and then went on. Soon after the 
horse was found and taken up; the neighbors conjectured he 
had by accident gotten away from some place where his rider 
had hitched him, and supposed that inquiry would soon be 
made for him, it being Saturday in the afternoon. They 
waited till Sunday morning but, alas ! no rider appeared ! The 
alarm spread. The woods, fields, and every bye comer were 
searched, and at ^ening they found the corpse close by the 
edge of the river, with all his clothes on, mittens on his hands, 
and his great coat wrapped about his head,- with a large stone 
pressing him to the bottom. The pistol was found on the brink, 
broken to pieces. The young man's hat, new and unharmed 
was discovered under a small bridge, near the spot. The corpse 
was conveyed to a neighboring house, and the inhabitants paid 
that peculiar attention which sympathy alone can dictate and 
gratitude reward. The remains were conveyed to Woodstock 
on Tuesday, and the funeral attended on Wednesday, when the 
Rev. Abiel Ledoyt addressed the assembly from Mark 13. 33: 
The grief of the mourners, the numbers convened, and the 
tears that profusely flowed,' presented a scene which we con- 
clude has never had a parallel in these our inland towns. The 
villains who perpetrated the awful crime are supposed to be 
two foreigners in sailors dress, who were seen that day by a 
number of people maldng their way towards Springfield. One 
particular circumstance tends much to strengthen the sus- 
picion. A lad, about 13 years of age, being sent after some 
hogs in the woods, near the place of the murder, happened to 
come out into the road, within two or three rods of two men in 
sailor habit. He declared under oath before the jury of inquest, 
that before he got out of sight of them, he saw one mount the 
same horse which was afterwards found, and ride him up the 
hill into the woods, while the other stood with a new cudgel in 
his hand leaning upon the wall. The same persons, according 
to the description, were soon after observed travelling in great 
haste towards Springfield. We are happy to learn that his 
excellency Governor Strong issued a proclamation oflfering a 
reward of five hundred dollars for the detection of the villains, 
and that the high Sheriff of Hampshire County greatly inter- 

The Histobt of Wilbraham 185 

ested himself in taking measures to detect them, which we 
learn have proved effectual, and the murderers are both com- 
mitted to gaol in Northampton." 

From the Massachusetts Spy (Worcester) 
June 25th 1806. , 

' ' Execution of Daley and Halligan. 

"On Thursday last, pursuant to their sentence, Dominick 
Daley and James Halligan were executed at Northampton. 
At half past 10 o'clock they were conducted to the meeting 
house, by the high sheriff and his deputies, with a guard, com- 
posed of a company of artillery and a detatchment of militia. 
An appropriate and eloquent discourse was there delivered to a 
very crowded auditory by the Rev. Mr. Cheverus, of Boston, 
from 1 John 3 : 15. 'Whoever hateth his brother is a murderer.' 
After the sermon the criminals were constantly attended by 
Mr Cheverus, with whom, during the greater part of the time, 
they appeared to be engaged in prayer. At 3 o'clock, sentence 
was executed by Major General Mattoon, sheriff of the county. 
Notwithstanding their protestations of innocence, in which 
they persisted to the last, it is believed that of the 15,000 sup- 
posed to be present, scarcely one had a doubt of their guilt. 
Daley and Halligan were natives of Ireland. Daley was 
about 34 years of age, and has been in this country two 
years ; He has left a wife, a mother and a brother in Boston. 
Halligan was about 27 years of age; and we believe has no 
connections in this country, in which he has resided for four 

This ;sad affair resulted in producing a long and realistic 
ballad, of which many knew a verse, and no one seemed to 
know it all. Miss E. O. Beebe has procured the following 
version of the quaint old rhyme. 


Listen to me and hear me tell 
Of a young man and what him befell; 
Of his hard fate now take a view 
Most solemn and affecting, too. 

186 The Histoky of Wilbbaham 

A shocking story to relate; 
He on his way from New York state 
To Woodstock, to his native home, 
As far as Wilbraham he come. 

'Twas some past noon on Saturday 
Two ruffians did this man waylay. 
They murdered him most barbarously, 
Then threw him in the river nigh. 

A boy he see them on the groimd; 
Where marks of violence were found. 
Blood in abundance to be seen. 
He tells the spot describes the scene. 

He see them lead his horse away; 
The horse was found on the same day. 
Then constant search was made around; 
No owner for the horse was found. 

On Sunday evening lights they took 
Along the river for to look — ; 
At nine o'clock his corpse was found 
With a huge stone to hold it down. 

One says "Come here, I something see; 
A dead body there appears to be." 
And to it did attempt to get; 
The stone slipped from off his feet. 

The stone slipped off, there did arise 
A bloody corpse before their eyes. 
Oh! what a scene: oh, what a sight. 
For to behold there in the night. 

Four rods from where they murdered him 
They threw his body in the stream. 
One hand was on his bruised head; 
'Twas thought 'twas there by him layed. 

They in the current did place him 
Upon his face, his head upstream; 
The stone they did upon him lay 
Upward of sixty pounds did weigh. 

The History of Wilbhaham 187 

A jury then was summoned, 

An inquest held upon the murdered. 

His skull was broke, his side shot through; 

His face disfigured by a blow. 

Papers with him did plainly show 
That Woodstock people did him know. 
And by the same did ascertain 
That Marcus Lyon was his name. 

At dead of night the people sent 
This heavy news unto his friend. 
Before sunrise his mother had 
News of her son being mtirdered. 

His mother says "Now in this way, 
I never thought my son to see 
I've husband lost, and children two; 
Trouble like this I never knew." 

His friends then after him they went, 
Their hearts being filled with discontent. 
Those of his age some miles did go. 
His corpse to meet, respect to show. 

On Wednesday was his funeral, 
Hard-hearted were those that could not feel 
Such bitter mourning never was 
Viewing the corpse and then the cause. 

His mother lost a loving son; 

One only brother left alone. 

Three sisterB to lament the fate 

Of their dear brother who died of late. 

Amongst his mourning friends we find 
To mourn he left his love behind 
Who did expect the coming spring 
In mutual love to marry him. 

Forsaken now, disconsolate, 
Ofttimes lamenting his hard fate. 
She wishes and she weeps again, 
Telling their cruelty to him. 

188 The History of Wilbraham 

His age was nearly twenty-three; 
Was kind affectionate and free;_ 
Humane benevolent and kind 
His like you seldom ever find. 

A pretty youth beloved by all, 
By young and old, by great and small; 
By rich and poor, by high and low, 
And every one that did him know. 

Ezekiel Terry, from whose account of this sad tragedy I have 
copied part of the foregoing account, was a printer, perhaps 
part of the time in Wilbraham. 

I have been loaned a bound book, consisting mostly of a 
collection of orations delivered in this vicinity by different 
persons, and sometimes printed by different firms, which were 
collected and bound in one book by Ezekiel Terry. He lived 
for a time on the Old Bay Road, near the line between Palmer 
and Wilbraham, either in the last house in Wilbraham, or the 
first one in Palmer. 

He was a member of the Second Baptist Church in Wilbra- 
ham, located east of Glendale. 

About 1805, he had printed a book on "Restoration," which 
was not in accord with the belief of the church. Several meet- 
ings were held to consider the matter, and on March 8th, 1806, 
the Church "Voted unamously to send Ezeakel terry a letter 
withdrawing the hand of fellowship with our watch and care 
from him as a brother in the Ch'' with us." They evidently 
thought differently about it in a short time, for, on January 10, 
1807, the record reads; — "in the first place heard Brother 
Ezikel terry Exknodgement and Voted to receive him again 
into our fellowship as a member." 

Ezekiel Terry was also a clergyman. For, in a list of ministers 
in Wilbraham, printed in "The Massachusetts Register for the 
year 1814," I find his name as the Baptist minister. 

He died in 1829, and on his headstone in the Deacon Adams 
Cemetery, the name reads "Rev"* Ezekiel Terry." His 
daughter, Mary, was the second wife of James C. Pease, and 

The Histohy of Wilbkaham 189 

mother of Jerome Pease, one of the oldest men now in our 

The book to which I have referred is now owned by Mrs. 
Homer Tupper of Warren, Mass. 

In this collection I find a few items of interest to our town, as 
follows : 


Pronounced at WILBRAHAM 

On the 4"' of July 1810. 


Palmer from the PRESS of E. TERRY 


Adjutant-General of the BRITISH ARMY. 

September 29, 1780. 


Printed by EZEKIEL TERRY. 



The Gospel RANGERS.f 




Elder Henry Hale. 


Third Edition 




* Capt. James Warner was a son of *'Clark" Samuel Warner. 

t This title is interesting to us because it seems to have been printed in Wilbraham. 

190 The History of Wilbeaham 

There is also 




Pronounced at Brookfield on the 22°'^ of Feb. 1800. 



In 1791, the Methodist preachers on Hartford circuit visited 
the South Parish, once in two weeks and held meetings, first, 
in Abner Chapin's kitchen, then in the schoolhouse. Some 
time in that year Charles Brewer heard one of them, Menzies 
Raynor, preach. He was deeply interested, and invited him 
to visit the North Parish and preach there. He consented to 
do so the next time he came round the circuit, on condition that 
Mr. Brewer and others would protect him and his colleague, 
Lemuel Smith, in case any violence should be offered them. 
Two weeks later, Lemuel Smith preached the first Methodist 
sermon in the North Parish. On August 29th, 1791, the first 
Parish "Voted that the Meeting House be moved on Charles 
Brewers lot the first day of May next." Three weeks later, or 
on September 12th, 1791, "Voted to rescind the vote about 
setting the Meeting House on Charles Brewers lot." The 
action of the parish in voting not to move the Meeting House 
onto his lot was very grievous to Mr. Brewer, and on December 
28, 1792, he and twelve" others withdrew from the first parish, 
and probably commenced the formation of the Methodist 
Society, and soon begun the erection of the first methodist 
meeting house on the same ground where the building is now 

* Pliny Merrick was a son of Rev. Noah Merrick of Wilbraham. 

The History of Wilbkaham 


On December 20, 1794, he gave a lease of the ground to the 
Society. I copy part of the document. 

"Know all men by these presents that I, Charles Brewer of 
Wilbraham in the County of Hampshire, Joiner for and in con- 
sideration of one pepper com paid me yearly and every year by 
the Methodist Society in Wilbraham so called have and by 
these presents do demise Lease & to farm ( ?) let unto Abel Bliss 
of said Wilbraham, yeoman Agent for and in behalf of said 

1794 to 1835. 

Society for and during the continuance of said Society in said 
place the land hereafter mentioned and described lying and 
being in s"* Wilbraham and on the east side of the public road 
s"* land being part of said Charles's home lot and whereon the 
meeting house stands." 

One of the interesting things in this lease, is the insignificance 
of the consideration to be paid annually by the Society. "One 
pepper com." 


The History of Wilbkaham 

In Bishop Asbury's Journal, under the date of Sunday, 
August 17th, 1794, there is the following entry. "I came to 
the new chapel at Wilbraham, forty by thirty-four feet, neatly 
designed .... I preached to about fotu- hundred people .... 

"The 'Standing Order' have moved their house into the 
street not far from ours." There is much more in the journal, 
but I have only quoted what seemed to be of some historical 
importance. Charles Brewer died in 1836. The inscription 


on his monument, in the Woodland Dell Cemetery reads, "Mr 
Charles Brewer was the first person who introduced Methodism 
into this parish, and his house was made the home of Methodism 
and Methodist Preachers, and a place for preaching for the 
two years following." 

He was the first child to be baptized in the meeting house on 
Wigwam Hill, December 28, 1748. It is a strange coincidence 
that the first child baptized in the meeting house of the "stand- 
ing order," should, about forty-five years later, be the first 

The History of Wilbkaham 193 

person to introduce another denomination. He lived on the 
west side of our Main Street, about 14 rods north of Springfield 
Street and kept an Inn there. The sign that hung in front of 
his place, and which was painted in 1810, is still in existence, 
and is displayed there this anniversary day. The house in 
which he lived, was taken down in 1893, and a new one erected, 
which has since been my home. 

On the 24th of September, 1794, the New England M. E. 
Conference, consisting then of about a dozen members, con- 
vened in the new chapel. The conference, though small, had 
mighty men in its ranks. Jesse Lee, Geo. Roberts, Wilson Lee, 
Daniel Ostrander, Geo. Pickering, Enoch Mudge, Joshua 
Taylor, and Joshua Hall were, there; men whose influence on 
the churches of New England can never be effaced, and ought 
never to be forgotten. Francis Asbury presided. Saturday 
was the great day of the feast. The three principal men of the 
occasion, Asbury, Roberts, and Jesse Lee, preached with power 
to the multitude that thronged to hear them. 

The New England Conference again held its session in this 
church, in the year 1797 and on the one htmdredth anniversary 
of that session in 1897, the Conference was held in the Methodist 
Church in this town. And on Jtme 7th, 1826, the Conference 
was held in this church. 

A petition was presented to the Legislature in 1795 for 
incorporation, as follows: 

"Petition For Methodist Society In Wilbraham 

"Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

"To the Hon*"' Senate and House of Representatives in 
General Court assembled in Boston, on the fourteenth Day of 
January, in the year of our Lord Seventeen hundred and 

"Humbly show the inhabitants of the Town of Wilbraham, 
in the Comity of Hampshire, that. Your Petitioners are of the 
Denomination of Christians called Methodists, and are con- 
scientiously of the persuasion; and are of Sufficient number and 
Ability to support a Teacher, and defray the Expenses of 
upholding public Worship among themselves; they therefore 
pray that they may be admitted to the Rights and Benefits of 

194 The Histoky of Wilbkaham 

the Constitution in this Respect; that they, and such others as 
may here after join them, in such manner as shall be prescribed 
by Law, may be incorporated into a Parish, by the Name of 
the Methodist Parish m Wilbraham, and be invested with the 
Powers, Privileges, and Rights which by the Law and Consti- 
tution of this Commonwealth, Parishes ought to have and 

"And as in Duty bound shall pray. 

"Lemuel Smith, Elder in the Robert Coffin. 

Methodist Church. Justice Stebbins. 

Abel Bliss. Asa Jones 

Charles Brewer. Ezra Barker, Jr. 

Silas BKgs. Matthew Grover. 

Ephraim Fuller. Aaron Frost. 

Gaius Brewer. Frederick Stebbins. 

John Russell. Abner S. Brewer. 

Augustus Sisson. Joseph Abbot. 

Phineas Stebbins. Anson Brewer 

Moses K. Bartlet. Cesar Tyler 

Ethan Warriner. Abner Chapin. 

Solomon Warriner, Jr. William Sweetser? Brewer. 

Elijah Stebbins. Elisha Walden. 

Cyrus Stebbins. John Loud. 

Walter Stebbins. Thomas Howard. 

James Hammond. Timothy Stebbins." 
Abel Bliss, Jr. 

This Petition was referred to the Committee on Parishes, 
which reported January 31, 1795, the usual order, notifying 
"the several parishes" in town, "that they appear and show 
cause, if any they have, why the prayer of said Petition shotild 
not be granted," at the first session of the next General Court, 
to be holden in May and June following. 

The South Parish made answer, Jtine 12, 1795, by "John 
Bliss and Phinehas Stebbins, that the parish have made no 
objections against the prayer of the petition being granted." 

The North Parish by their Committee, James Shaw, Reuben 
Sikes, and Chileab B. Merrick, made an elaborate reply to the 
petition. They represent, that on the division of the town into 
two parishes, the meeting house was one mile south of the 
centre of the parish, and that they could not persuade the 

The Histoey of Wilbraham 195 

owner to sell the central lot on which all were agreed; that 
while they were waiting, the roof of the meeting house became 
so leaJ<y as to render its use and preservation impossible, and 
that they permitted it to be new shingled at expense of indi- 
■viduals; that this "exasperated the leading and principal part 
of your petitioners to a great degree ; they accordingly assembled 
and entered into a solemn written agreement to separate from 
the parish, be no longer connected with them, and formed 
themselves into a distinct society, as they termed it ; the next 
Sabboth they went in a body, headed by one of the principal 
Baptists in the parish, to the Baptist meeting; they fell off 
gradually, and at length all left that meeting; at this time not 
one of them had ever heard a Methodist preacher; but the 
preachers of that order, ever williag to fish in muddy water, 
came among them; they swallowed the bait, and are now as 
they say conscientious Methodists;" that soon after, a number 
of the principal inhabitants of said parish "met and invited the 
petitioners to attend and give their reasons for their conduct; 
that they came and said, that if we would dismiss our Minister 
(who by this time they had taken a dislike to), and remove the 
Meeting-house they would give up all thoughts of a separation;" 
but a contract had been made with the minister and cotild not 
be annialled without his consent; yet they would remove the 
meeting-house just as soon as possible, "using all exertion 
within the bounds of reason. . . .' More than a year ago the 
selected spot was obtained, a meeting-house has been built 
just where they wanted it, the minister has been dismissed at 
his request, mostly, as he said, on 'account of these people;' 
yet they are as far from being satisfied as ever." The respond- 
ents also say that "more than six of the petitioners are minors; 
Cesar, the negro, is a transient person, already out of the 
State; Lemuel Smith, who in the petition styles himself their 
elder, is not here but once a month, nor that much of the time ; 
and will not stay long probably; Grover has left the State; 
two others wish they had not signed the petition; so that there 
are only twenty-five of any weight. Their ability may be 
known by the portion they pay of the town tax: that tax is 

196 The History of Wilbraham 

£136 Is. 2d.; they pay £14 4s. 5d." They forbear to draw 
any inferences and leave the whole subject to the General 

To this, the petitioners reply, June 6, 1795, by their Com- 
mittee, Gaius Brewer, John Russel, and Ephraim Fiiller, in 
substance as follows: 

"That shingling the meeting-house is but one cause; they 
were forever opposed to the settlement of their minister, and 
threw in their objections before his ordination, yet he was 
settled in spite of the remonstrance of twenty-seven persons; 
they never consented to return but utterly refused to do so on 
any condition; Nor did their minister ask a dismission on our 
account, but because his health was so poor that he could not 
continue; nor is Lemuel Smith absent from us as they say, — 
his family is here, and when he is removed another minister will 
come. There are but five minor petitioners, and they are 
'capable of choosing and practising the truth.' No one wishes 
his name taken off. As nearly all of us are of the North Parish, 
it is not just to estimate our ability by the town Tax; the 
Parish tax for building the Meeting-House is £343, and we 
pay £90. We are not fickle, nor do our ministers 'fish in 
muddy water.' " 

"The parish voted, February 14, 1794, that all who belonged 
to the Methodists shotild be exempt from taxes, but afterwards 
changed, and rated the Methodists to build their meeting- 
house, when they had their own to build and a minister to 
support. They submit their case: 

" 'Not doubting but your Honors feel the spirit of republican- 
ism, that liberty, civil and religious, might be established within 
the American shores.' " 

The act of incorporation was not passed at that time. 

"We learn nothing farther of special interest in the history of 
this church till 1814, when a camp-meeting was held. The 
following year another was held. These meetings were a great 
blessing to the church. Its members were quickened in spiritual 
life, a large accession made to its numbers, and the attention 
of the community aroused and called to the subject of religion. 
Inspirited by this influence, they immediately raised money 
enough, not only to finish the church in comfortable style, but 
had about three hundred dollars remaining in the treasury. 
At this time a stove was procured for warming the house. This 
was a great innovation on the customs of the age ; and not till 

The History of Wilbbaham 197 

a number of years afterwards did any other church in town 
follow this example." 

An act of incorporation was probably passed at the session 
of the Legislature in 1832, and the first corporate meeting of the 
Methodist Episcopal Society was organized under a warrant 
issued by William Knight, Esq., of WUbraham, at the petition 
of Abraham Avery and ten others, and was held in the Methodist 
meeting house, August 29th, 1832. 

In September, 1833, A. Avery circulated a subscription paper 
among the members of the society, for the purpose of taking 
stock in shares of fifty dollars each, to build a new meeting 
house. Thirty-three Shares having been taken, it was agreed to 
proceed to build a house forty-two by sixty feet with a tower. 
The society voted to purchase slips to the amount of its funds, 
some three hundred dollars. 

William Famham was the builder, after a plan furnished by 
Rev. John Lindsey, of Boston. 

The cost of the house was limited to three thousand dollars, 
except for the steps, bell, and some outside expenses. And the 
house cost within the limit. It was, by the contract, to have 
been finished by the 20th of October, 1834; but was not coin- 
pleted till May of the following year. It was dedicated by the 
Rev. Dr. Fisk about the 19th of May, 1835. 

In relation to the building of this meeting house I have copied 
a few items from the records of the society. 

At a meeting of the Society held January 1st, 1834: "On 
motion of Mr. Foster, voted that the committee be instructed 
to sell the old Meeting-House, and the avails thereof be laid out 
for stock in a new Meeting-House." 

At the same meeting it was voted "that the Three Hundred 
Dollars given by Moses K. Bartlett deceased, should be laid 
out for stock in a new Meeting-House by the Committee." 
(Moses K. Bartlett died October 29th, 1819.) 

At a meeting held April 24th, 1834, Wm. S. Smith and Wm. 
E. Brewer were chosen a committee to obtain subscriptions 
for the meeting house in contemplation, to be invested in free 

198 The History of Wilbraham 

seats. On May 22, 1835, voted that the "committee be in- 
structed to sell the Old Meeting-House for any sum not less 
than three hundred and fifty Dollars." August 1st, 1835, the 
price was reduced to three hundred Dollars. 

Probably the meeting, August 1st, 1835, was the last meeting 
of the society in the old meeting house. The record for the 
next meeting begins : 

" Doings of a Parish Meeting held on Thursday the 21st day 
of April instant A. D. 1836, held at New Church of the M. E. 
Society of N. W." 

"Voted that the Society accept of the doings of their Com- 
mittee in the negotiation with A. L. Brewer for the old House." 
May 5, 1836: "Voted that the Prudential Committee' be 
instructed to examine the old slips, steps & Pulpit &c, in the 
Old House, and if thought best to reserve & remove the same 
before the sale of the House." 

The house was sold to Anson L. Brewer, and the ground on 
which it stood, which it will be remembered was leased to the 
society, was sold by Charles Brewer to Anson L. Brewer, 
Esq., of New Lisbon, Ohio, October 23rd, 1835, and on October 
28, 1841, it was sold to Wm. W. Merrick and remained in 
his possession, and that of his estate for 67 years, or until 1908, 
when it was sold according to the provisions of his will, and is 
now in my possession. 

Twenty-five cents postage was paid on the letter which 
brought the Deed from New Lisbon, Ohio, to Wilbraham. 

In order to raise funds, the society sold pews or slips to 
individuals by deeds which are recorded in the clerk's book. 
The first on the record is for "Pew or Slip numbered fifty one 
in the Meeting House lately erected for the use and benefit of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church and Society in the north 
parish of Wilbraham," to "Samuel Warner for Sixty Dollars." 
Dated June 20th, 1835. If an iadividual sold his "Pew or 
Slip" to some other person, the deed was recorded in the 
clerk's book. 

It seems that Clark B. Stebbins owned a pew in the church 
in 1845, and in that year the Chicopee Bank of Springfield 

The History of Wilbbaham 199 

obtained a judgment against him for the sum of $515.95, and 
the sheriff attatched his pew, No. 27, which was appraised by 
"three disinterested and discreet men" to be worth "sixty-five 
dollars." The record of the whole transaction covers two pages 
in the clerk's book, and it is no wonder that the society began 
to devise measures to eliminate such conditions, and on March 
17, 1851, they chose "John M. Merrick, Sam' Warner, Joel M. 
Lyman, a committee to consider the expediency & practicability 
of buying the slips of the Proprietors." 

March 29th, 1843: Joel M. Lyman, P. P. Potter, Wm. E. 
Brewer were "chosen a committee to see if Land can be obtained 
on which to build Horse Sheds." 

April 7th, 1843: "Voted that the society hold meetings on 
sabbath days only by day light & on no other occasions except 
extraordinary ones." 

March 30, 1847: "Voted to purchase 2 cords of pine wood, 
3 feet long, at 2.50 per cord, and 2 cords of oak wood, 3 feet 
long at 2.87 per cord. 

At the meeting held on April 7, 1849, Mr. Lane and Wm. E. 
Brewer were chosen "a committee to draw a plan and make an 
estimate for a parsonage." 

March 31, 1851: "Voted to raise five hundred Dollars to 
raise this house & finish off the Vestry." April 16, 1851, " Porter 
Cross, Samuel Warner, John M. Merrick be a committee to 
raise the house and finish off the vestry." 

May 10th, 1851: "Voted that the committee be authorized 
to procure a furnace provided they in their judgement think 

March 19, 1855: a committee was chosen "to try to secure 
land for a parsonage & horse sheds." 

At the same meeting J. W. Bliss was chosen a committee 
"to see what can be done towards raising money for the organ." 

A parsonage was probably secured in 1856. The meeting 
house remained as a place for worship imtil about 1868, when 
it was removed off to the east, onto the Academy grounds and 

200 The History of Wilbraham 

has, for part of the time since, been used by the Academy for 
a music hall and for a gymnasium. The erection of the stone 
church was commenced in 1867 and it was formally opened with 
a sermon by Dr. Miner Raymond in midsummer in 1870. The 
total cost was nearly $45,000. The bell was given to the 
society by Col. Benjamin Butler, who lived on the Bay Road, 
in the northeast part of the town, and the fionds for the pur- 
chase of the clock in the tower were secured by subscriptions 
from many different persons. 

[Built in 1794 and now used as a dwelling.] 

In 1912, Mrs. William P. Allis, 80 years old, then and now 
living in that ancient building, wrote the following poem: 


A structure of colonial pride. 

It stands upon the village street 
In ancient grace and stateliness 

Its high square sides and angles meet. 

No turret tower for bell designed. 

Nor useless lines might art bestow; 
Nor Pynchon gables, Hawthorne styled, 
Coiild this quaint roof, unbroken show. 

Consigned within these sacred walls. 
Where altar offerings once were laid, 

Bright memories their full records hold, 
Silent, but true to Wesleyan's shade. 

Historic trees fit canopy formed 

For worship on its native sod; 
Where youth and age together walked, 
Devoutly walked and worshiped God. 

The History of Wilbbaham 201 

Still beautiful the shadows fall 

On church and consecrated soil, 
And side by side, the new and old, 

Are yet the same in love and toil. 

When Wesleyan zeal most brightly burned. 
This valley claimed her noted best; 

The Prince of Saints his rights confirmed, 
And Wesley's name was fitly blessed. 

In connection with the camp meetings held by this society, 
I insert the following, copied from an account book of Stephen 


"I saw and behold People were gathered Together on the 
top of a delightsome Spatious hill where there were a number 
of high Lofty Towering Steeples bright and shining arranged 
along and on the vast tops were people clothed in white who 
stood upright and gave out the word hymn or tune and the 
people below burst into song. 

So I awoke Aug. l?"- 1795." 

In different writing follows: 

"I conclude this was fulfilled in the Camp ground at Wil- 

I insert another item from the same source. 


"Again we have been taught that it willbe a great consola- 
tion to Saints in heaven to see the dammed in hell plased nigh 
in full view and that it will greatly promote their hapiness and 
it will set in Clear Light the compassion of God and Christ. 

"Such a preacher never had a distant Idea of the happiness 
of heaven or of what it consisted of he never has known Jesus 
nor the ways of Salvation never has one taste of the Love of 
Jesus nor the powers of the world to come." 

"Those Preachers are always on the dark side They do 

202 The History of Wilbbaham 

not Penetrate so far into heaven as their mind doth into 

The camp meetings, to which refference has been made, were 
probably held in the grove, which then covered the hill, about 
sixty or eighty rods easterly of the present Grace Chtirch at 
North Wilbraham. 

Camp meetings were held there by several societies, on dif- 
ferent weeks, for many years. The Millerites or "Adventists," 
as they are now called, held camp meetings there, until they 
moved to their present location in Springfield. Also, I think, 
a negro society held meetings there for a few seasons. The 
grove was also used for Sunday school picnics. 

On August 24, 1857, the Springfield District of the Methodist 
Conference, began to hold camp meetings in Collins Grove, 
on the ground now occupied by the Collins Manufacturing 
Company's mill, and boarding houses. The ground was leased 
at 11.00 per year, and the meetings were held there for seven 
years until 1864; then they were held at Hatfield until 1872, 
when the present location at Laurel Park, Northampton, was 


I have mentioned that the year 1794 seems to have been 
filled with religious activity in our town. The business of 
moving the first meeting house down from Wigwam Hill, the 
building of the Methodist meeting house on our Main Street, 
were both going on at that time. And in addition, a Baptist 
society was gathering over on the mountain, easterly of Glen- 
dale, in a locality now known as "Colton Hollow," consisting 
of residents of both Wilbraham and Monson, and partly of 
persons who were already members of the Baptist Church at 
East Wilbraham, of which Elder Seth Clark was pastor. 

The following is a copy from the records of this Church 
society, now in possession of Sumner Smith of Hampden. 

First leaf of records is almost gone. 

The History of Wilbhaham 203 

"7'h Day 1794. ■ 
comer of " Then met according to 

leaf gone adjournment — and in the 

first place proceeded in the 
matter concerning the gifts or 
qualifications of Deacons and fotmd 
the Ch*" not ripe for action at this 

"21y Considered the matter as to the 
Sacrament and voted to have it as often 
as once in Eight weeks. 

(Rest of the leaf gone) 

(On next leaf) 

" and found that the minds of the Ch'' sentered on 

Brother Israel Bennet Consequently unamosUy voted that 
Brother Israel Bennet Be first Deacon in this Ch*". Then pro- 
ceeded to no What the work of a Deacon was not having time 
at this meeting Voted to Ajoum the meeting to Thursday the 
15 Day of May Next at Nathan Peases at one of the clock p. m. 
This meeting is Ajoumed. 

"May the 15 Day 1794 the Ch*" met acording to Ajoumment 
.... then proceed in the Labour Conseming the work of a 
Deacon after much time spent in Labour come to no Conclusion 
then voted to Ajoum the meeting to Thursday may the 29"* 
Day at one o'clock p. m. at Nathan Peases. 

"May 29 Met according to Ajoumment .... concluded to 
take up the qualifycations office And work of a Deacon in their 
order as they stand pinted out in Scripture — ^as set forth Acts 
6-3-5. Tim 3 from 3 to 12. Qualifications of a Deacon (abbre- 
viated) Aught to be honest — ^Pull of the Holy Ghost, a man of 
Gravity and Soberiety — a Man of Faith — open hearted — ^not 
close fisted or greedy of filthy lucre. 

"6'y We believe that a deacon ought to be The Husband of 
but one wife ruling well his own children and house Hold and 
that their wives ought to be sober grave and faithful in all things. 

"Then 2'y Voted to send to the following Ch''' to see if we 
might obtain their fellowship (Vis) SufSeld Wilbraham and 
Infield to meet in Conference at Bro. Nathan Peases Wednesday 
the 2""* day of July at 10 of the clock, m. 

"Wilbraham July the 2°"* Day 1794. At the request of a 
number of Bretheren members of the Baptist church under the 
Pastoral care of Elder Seth Clark who propose to Incorporate 

204 The History of Wilbraham 

into a Destinct Church Met in Council at the Dwelling house 
of Mr Nathan Pease Elders and members from the following 
Churches. (Suffield, Enfield, names given, 3 from each) (Wil- 
braham) Elder Seth Clark and Brothers Joseph Butler Noah 
Polk ( ?) Josiah Hill Zadock Bebee Samuel Miner — ^made choice 
of Elder John Hastings moderator, Ephraim (?) Robins clerk. — 
proceeded to hear S"* Bretheren Relate the Standing of their 
minds with regard to being set off into a Ch*" State, the Concil 
Being by themselves and Deliberated on the matter and after 
mature Consideration the Concil were of opinion that it will 
be for the furtherance of the Cause of God that they be Con- 
sidered as a distinct Church and this Concil give them fellow- 
ship as such under the Appillation of the 2""* Baptist Church 
in Wilbraham. 

"Sin^ By order and in behalf of the Concil 

John Hastings moderator 

"Attest Ephriam (?) Robins Clerk 

" March 24'h 1795 
(Church meeting) "to hear a complaint of Sister Mary 
purches (?) against Brother Aron Chapin consisting of two 
Charges (?) 1^' that Brother Chapin took some sheep of her 
and Declined to give her security therefor to her satisfaction. 
2'y that in paying the Rent for the sheep the wool was not 
Equil to Contract. (The Church considered the matter and 
reported what Brother Chapen ought to do, and appointed a 
committee of four to settle any dispute between them in the 
future. Nothing else done. Meeting disolved) 

"Oct 23'' 1799. A number of Christian people of the Baptist 
Denomination met at Nathan Peases for the purpose of Col- 
lecting their minds concerning the Publick Worship of God and 
travel of their minds present Elder Seth Clark Elder Stephen 
Shepard (and others) then sought to find the union Between 
Elder Clarks members and others in the worship and found 
aGreement — ^then went into the labour to see how many Could 
commune to Gether and found Forteen members that was free 
to commune. — ^Voted to send a letter of the proceedings of the 
day to Elder Clarks Church which is as follows. 

"A number of Bretheren who met in their worship at Brother 
Peases to the Baptist Church of Christ in Wilbraham to whom we 
are connected (&c) — ^We would inform you that Elder Clark 
Deacon Elisha Cleveland ( ?) and a number of your Bretheren 
here together with ourselves this day had a Blessed interview in 

The History of Wilbraham 205 

a free Conference at Brother Peases and found in the first place 
we were hapily agreed to worship together when we have 
Opportunity: and in the second place there was Forteen 
members stood ready for Communion who was here present— 
and all agreed that not withstanding our diferent oppenion 
respecting our being a Church Before this date Each part was 
willing Each other should maintain his oppinion and not con- 
sider one another Knowingly wrong, and finding ourselves 
free to Worship & Commune together we did in the conclution 
with the greatest freedom by way of Condesention to lay aside 
the Idia of a Ch'' till we have your Aprobation If you can give 
it and have this day agreed to set out anew the same as if there 
had been nothing done before in considering ourselves a ch"" 
Except we see no need of calling a Council Because our present 
prosperity Cannot alter their former opinion. We heard no 
noise of ax or hanmier this day those members Who are not 
ready now to Embody with us are free towards our doings and 
we are free towards them (and more) 

"Sined in Behalf of the Bretheren 

Israel Bennet" 

(The answer) 

"Wilbraham Nov, e"" 1799 

"at a ch'^ meeting held at Elder Clarks house this Day Dear 
Breathem we took your letter into Consideration dated the 
23'' of October last We rejoice to see your union and fellowship 
one with other and wish Grace mercy and peace might be 
multiplied with you. We as a ch"* can give you fellowship as a 
ch"" But think for your furter Benefit that it is Necessary that 
you have the fellowship of other ch""^ also. We remain your 
Breathem in tribtdation 

"Sined in Behalf of the Ch"^ Elder Seth Clark 

"To the Brethem in the south part of Wilbraham & Monson 

"The Church Covenant 
"Is subscribed to by 133 persons, the first 18 are 
"Nathan Pease Hannah Pease 

Israel' Benet Susanna Benet 

Nathan Pease Jur. Silvia Pease 

Eliphlet Green Hannah Firmin 

Aaron Chapin Hannah Green 

Urial Lamphere Hannah Chapin 

Elijah Butten Gerusha Lamphere 

Jonathan Hakes Lucy Butten 

Nathan Bnunly Easter Hakes" 

206 The History of Wilbeaham 

"A meeting was held Feb. 6"^ 1800 at Isaac Meechams and 
in the first place hear"* Brother Meechams accusations against 
sister pease and her reply. The ch'^ attended with the greatest 
Calmness (?) and were all agreed that Brother Meecham was 
much out of the way in holding things so hard against Sister 
hannah pease and all the Ch'^ Except two members were free 
(favorable) towards her and they were in some measure removed 
and had nothing as against Bro. an what Before they had was 
in some measure removed out of the way. 

"At a ch*" meeting held at Nathan peases April 3"^ 1800, 
voted that Elder Stephen Shepard Preach half the time with us 
at the present and continue so long as he shall think proper and 
we continue our freedom in Contributines to him in bilding the 
house upon that Land Elder Shepard had of Brother hakes ( ?) " 

May 3rd, 1800: Conference attended by Elders and mem- 
bers from other Churches the Articles of Covenant were read 
and approved and the fellowship of their Churches given. 
(This seems to be the second time the Church was constituted. 
Perhaps they had not held meetings regularly since 1794.) 

June 9th, 1804: "Voted that no Brother ought to bring a 
matter to the Ch'' without it is a matter of Trespass ( ?) as there 
is many differences in our judgment which may be left to 
Endividuals which are not a just bar from the communion." 

Jan., 1807 : "Voted to have a free conference at Nathan pease. 
Jr. the 18"" instant for the purpose of Bilding a meetinghouse" 

Mar. 30th, 1808: "2'y agreed to the eyedee that Elder 
Shepards present standing is not binding on his parishiners. 
Voted on Elder Shepards motion that he is at liberty to be 
absent from us and we to look out for other help" Voted 
"immediately to try to obtain other help." 

Dec. 23rd, 1809: "At a ch'' meeting held at Brother James 
Works — 2'y Conversed freely upon inviting Ministers to 
administer to us who belong to and attend the masonic lodge 
Voted that under existing circumstances we think it best not 
to invite them to the grief of any of otir bretheren." 

The last of Dec, 1809: "Voted to request that hampton 
Ch*" ordain Brother Alvin Bennet — ^that he may administer 
the ordinances to the Chh." 

June 23rd, 1810 — "at a Conference meeting held at our 
meeting house." (The first mention of using the meeting house. 
The previous meeting held at Elder Shepards.) 

The History of Wilbraham 207 

Oct. 17th, 1811: "At a ch'' meeting held at Brother Nath 
Pease house in Wilbraham — Brother Truman Trask Came 
forward and made his mind manifest that he was not satisfied 
with his Baptism on the account of his not being quite all over 
Whelmed in Water through a mistake. It was largely Con- 
versed upon after all the Light that Could be Brought forward, 
then the voice of the Ch"" was taken and all was agreed Exsepting 
one that Brother Trask was Gospelwise Baptised and therefore 
is a member of this Ch"" 

March 21st, 1812: "In the first place opened the way for 
Bro. Aaron Chapin to free his mind why he left the Ch*", he said 
that the principle reasons was Consemiag masonry and the 
mode of singing the Ch"" had adopted. Conversed largely on 
the first point and finding his mind Still tryed. not wishing to 
leave the Ch*" Could he see with them, the Ch"" agreed to wait 
on him a while longer." 

Monson July 31st, 1830: "In the first place took up the 
matter concerning Br. Jedidiah Smith joining the Freemasons. 
Voted to send him a letter of admonition. Elder Bennett to 
write S"^ letter the letter was wrote, read and Excepted." 

Feb. 12th, 1831 : "Voted to send Br. Jedediah Smith a second 
letter of admonition. Elder Bennett to write it." 

April 9th, 1831: "Voted to exclude Jedediah Smith from 
church fellowship." 

May 4th, 1833: "—7"' Voted that a committee of three be 
appointed to corospond with Sister Ch""^ on the subject of 
Free Masonry. 

Sept. 13th, 1817: "Voted to release Br Asa Beebe uppon 
his own request from Ch*" Chorister. 2'^ Voted that they was 
willing that the singers should sing and regulate themselves." 

April 20th, 1822: "Then Oliver Bliss presented a Complaint 
against Bro. Asa Beebe — appointed April 24"' to hear S"* 
Complaint." (On April 24 met to hear the Complaint which 
was): "that Bro. Beebe had defrauded and deceved him in 
selling him a ytjak of oxen . . . . " (evidence given.) 

Then the Church deliberated on the matter and voted the 
following report. "We are sensuble that the intention of the 
mind must crown the merit of the action and of this the Lord 
only can Judge. We are sorry that Br. Beebe did not inform 
Mr. Bliss that the ox had been poaked at the time he sold him 

208 The History of Wilbraham 

the Cattle which we think he ought to have done and we are 
very sorry that he did not and hope he is or will be sorry for 
it also which we think he ought to bee. Then Br. Beebe Replied 
and said that he was sorry that he did not tell Mr. Bliss that 
the ox had been Poked (ox was unruly). Voted to Disolve this 

20 church meetings for business were held in 1837 and 29 in 
1838 and many members were excluded from fellowship, 
causing much trouble and at the request of the church a com- 
mittee from the association considered the subject. 

April 26th, 1845: Voted "that the name of our church be so 
far changed as to be called Baptist Church Monson & Wil- 
braham. Voted to organize a Sabbath School." 

April 18th, 1846: After hearing the testimony concerning 
Mrs. Hunt, "Voted we think she did wrong when her husband 
came home in taking the tea and hideing it and then make her 
husband think he had not got any and he went and got more. 
Also we think she has used profane language. Voted that she 
confess publicly — Mrs Hunt said she could not comply with 
the requirement of the church. Voted to wave the subject for 
the present." 

It seems there are no records of church meetings from 
August 19th, 1849 to November 30th, 1852. 

On November 30th, 1852: "The church met a committee of 
the Association consisting of four, A. Parker, Robinson, 
Bachelor, J. Nichols. The object of the committee was to 
learn the state of the C"*". Upon inquiry of each member 
present it seemed to be their desire to sustain the visibility of 
the church and make one more effort to sustain the preached 
gospel in this place." 

April 27th, 1853: "Voted to ask the committee of the Asso- 
.ciation Rev. Parker, Robinson and Bachelor to know whether 
in their opinion the church have lost their visibility or identity 
in their past neglect of various duties &c." 

Dec. 2nd, 1854: "Voted to dedicate the new Meeting House 
in South Wilbraham. Committee appointed to fix the time and 
make all necessary arrangements. Voted to appoint our next 
Covenant meeting at the Baptist Meetiag House in South 

The Histoby of Wilbeaham 209 

Jan. 6th, 1855: "Voted to continue our meetings at the new 
meeting house and make it our place of worship." 

July 5th, 1856: "Voted that we consider Bro. Henry S. 
Stevens as pastor of this C*'*' during his stay with us." 

Aug. 2nd, 1856: "Voted Sumner Smith Church Clerk in 
place of Gideon Day resigned.." 

FOR Incorporation "Into a Parish or Religious Society, 


towns of Wilbraham, Springfield, and Ludlow." 

"To the Honorable the Senate, &»the Honorable the House 
of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in 
General Court assembled, in Boston, on the twenty-ninth day 
of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and five: — 

"The Petition of the subscribers most humbly exhibits that 
they are of a persuasion and denomination of Christians com- 
monly called Methodists, belonging to the towns of Wilbraham, 
Springfield & Ludlow, in the County of Hampshire; and that 
they are of sufficient number & ability to support a teacher 
and defray the expenses of upholding publick worship among 

"They therefore pray that they may be admitted to the 
rights and benefits of the Constitution in this respect, that 
they, and such others as may hereafter join them in such manner 
as shall be prescribed by law, may be incorporated into a parish 
or religious society by the name of the Methodist Episcopal 
Parish or Religious Society in the towns of Wilbraham, Spring- 
field, & Ludlow, and be invested with the powers priviliges & 
rights which by the law & Constitution of this Commonwealth 
parishes ought to have and enjoy. 

"And as in duty shall pray 

"Newel Cone, Leonard Frost, Charles Converse, 

Matthew Cone, Ezra Barker, Moses B. Bartlet, 

Ichabod Cone, Samuel Brewer, Charles Johnson, 

John Langdon, Gains Brewer, Russel Parker, 

Calvin Stebbins, 2^. Gordon Chapel, Walter Langdon, 

Josiah Langdon, John Brewer, Eldad Stebbins, 

Noah Stebbins, Peter WaUridge, Christopher Langdon, 

Charles Brewer, James Calkins, Jr. Walter Stebbins, 

Abel Bliss, Jr. Eleazer Bishop, Reuben Hendrick, 

Rowland Crocker, Joseph Bannister, Abner Chapin, 

John Kneeland, Ahimaaz Willey, Jonah Beebe, 


The History op Wilbbaham 

Benjamin Weaver, 
SewaU T. Mack, 
Elijah Jones, 
David Calkins, 
Fred. Stebbins, 
Noah Frost, 
Abel Bliss, 
Charles Brewer, Jr., 
Jona Merrick, Jr., 
Zenas Parker, 

Luther Stebbins, 2'^, 
Noah Stebbins, Jr., 
Stephen Stebbins, 
Sylvanus Stebbins, 
Luther Stebbins, 
Eldad Stebbins, Jr., 
Zadock Stebbins, 
William Brewer, Jr., 
James Calkins, 
David Cadwell, 

Nathan Mack, 
Ezra Goss, 

Phineas Stebbins, Jr., 
Elisha Shepard, 
Nathan Alvard, 
Steph. Cadwell, Jr., 
Benjamin Allen, 
Jonas Keyes, 

Committed to the Standing Committee on Parishes, May 
30, 1805, by the House of Representatives. 

In the same words another petition is presented at the same 
time, signed as follows: — 

"James Malvin, 
Samuel Frost, 
Eliphalet Green, 
Jonathan Benton, 
Stephen Pease, 
Jedediah Sawyer, 
Uriah Clough, 

Elijah Thacher, 
Daniel Swetland, 
William Butler, 
John Russel, 
Samuel Harris, 
Ephraim Fuller, Jr., 
Samuel Frost, Jr., 

David Orcutt, 
Silas Holton, 
Joseph Webster, 
John Clough, 
Anthony Slaster, 
Stephen Howard, 
Ephraim Fuller, 

Reuben Frost, 
Elias Frost, 
Elkanah Tenney, 
Lemuel Parsons, 
John Paulls, Jr., 

John Charter, 
William Carlile, 
David Slaster, ■ 
David Stebbins, 

Gideon Hunn, 
Chester Wakefield, 
Anson Craw, 

Wilbraham, 59; 
Springfield, 25; 
Ludlow, 8." 

On the "Petition of Noah Stebbins and others and Stephen 
Howard and others. Inhabitants of Wilbraham, Springfield, 
and Ludlow, praying that they may be incorporated into a 
religious Society, by the name of the Methodist Episcopal 
Parish or Religious Society. in the towns of Wilbraham, Spring- 
field, and Ludlow" it is 

"Ordered, that the Petitioners cause attested copies of their 
Petitions, with this order thereon, to be served on the respective 
Town Clerks of the said towns of Wilbraham, Springfield, and 
Ludlow, and on the several Parish Clerks within the said towns, 
thirty days at least before the second Wednesday of the first 
session of the next General Court, that all concerned may then 

The History of Wilbraham 211 

appear, and shew cause (if any they have) why the prayer of 
said Petitioners should not be granted. 
"In Senate, February 22, 1806. 
"Read and accepted. 

"Sent down for concurrence, 

"H. G. Otis, President. 
"In the House of Representatives, February 24, 1806 
"Read and concurred, 

"Timothy Bigelow, Speaker" 

A previous petition of Noah Stebbins and others only is 
ordered and referred in the same way, June 11th, 1805 (except 
"third instead of second Wednesday" and "next session" 
instead of "first session of next," etc.) 

The next autimin, forty-three of these petitioners renewed 
their petition, "not withstanding there may be objections by 
Towns or Parishes." 

The North and South Parishes answered the notification of 
the petition in nearly the same words, as follows (omitting the 
formal introduction) : — 

"The clerk of the town has favored us with a writing pur- 
porting to be an order of your Honors on the petition of Noah 
Stebbins and others, praying to be incorporated into a religious 
society, also papers purporting to be petitions of said Noah 
Stebbins Stephen Howard and others, but neither of said papers 
are attested by any person as coppies, so that we are wholly at 
a loss whether there be any such petitions pending and we know 
not the names of the petitioners except the two above men- 
tioned. Indeed, the person who left the papers with the clerk 
said he would give the names of as many as he could remember, 
and gave about fifty. He soon after called and took said list 
away, so that we have not the names of the Petitioners but by 
the memory of the clerk, and his information was incomplet; 
but a number have appeared and said that they signed said 
petition, but that they were deceived — that they had no idea 
of saying that they were Methodists, and wished to be incor- 
porated, but that they were willing that others, to wit, Method- 
ists, might be. Upon the whole, we think there has been great 
unfairness in obtaining said Petitions, and in giving notice. 
We therefore pray, if there is such a petition pending, your 

212 The History of Wilbhaham 

Honors would not grant the prayer thereof until we are regu- 
larly notified, and have the names of the petitioners. 
" 'As in duty bound shall we pray.' 

Chileab B. Merrick 1 Committee 
Samuel F. Merrick \ for 

Philip Morgan J North Parish 

Robert Sessions 1 Committee for 

Stewart Beebe \ South Parish 

Calvin Stebbins J of Wilbraham" 

In 1819, forty-two inhabitants of Wilbraham, Palmer, and 
Monson, petitioned to be incorporated as "The Third Religious 
Society in the town of Wilbraham," alleging that they were 
situated about four miles from the nearest place of public 
worship, and\ that they had twenty years since formed them- 
selves into a separate religious society, and erected a house of 
worship, and supported preaching almost constantly since that 
time; but at length, finding it inconvenient to do so, in con- 
sequence of the want of an act of incorporation, granting to said 
society power to lay and collect a tax for that purpose. 

The act of incorporation was not passed, and it is hardly 
necessary to copy the names of the petitioners. They were, I 
suppose, the supporters of the Baptist Society in the North 
Village, or the one at Colton Hollow. 

As a reminiscence of the days, only about 75 years ago, I 
copy ,a few bills paid on account of the militia, and other items 
from the treasurer's account. 

"To the Hon. Board Selectmen or Assessors of the town of 

"This may certify that the within named persons have done 
Military Duty in the Springfield Artilery the past year as 
Required by law. 

Edward W. ChaflEe Aknond Wood 
Isaac Brewer Sydny Moore 

Jackson W. Stebbins 

Springfield Oct. 24"> 1837 

Cap' David Loyde." 

The History op Wilbhaham 213 

" $25.00 Luther Brewer Treasurer of the town of Wilbraham 
pay Highland Cleaveland, Benjamin Ellis, Sidney Moore, 
Isaac Brewer, Edward W. Chaffee the sum of Five Dollars each 
they having done Military duty as the law requires the year 
past as cer"* by their commanding Officer — 

Stephen Stebbins 1 Selectmen 

"Dec. 6, 1838 Wm. V. Sessions J Wilbraham" 

"To the Selectmen of the town of Wilbraham 
"This certifies that Benjamin Ellis has done military duty in 
the company of light infantry in Longmeadow the season past 
according to law he will therefore have a claim of Five Dollars 
on your treasury for his services. 

W. Lathrop, Captain" 

"To the Selectmen of Wilbraham 

"Gentlemen this certifies that Jonah Alden 3^ of Wilbraham 
has done Military duty in the Independent Company of Militia 
in the town of Ludlow the past season according to law for 
which he is entitled to five dollars out of the Treasury of Wil- 

Ludlow Oct. 19, 1842 

Charles D. Champlin \ Commander 
/ of said Co." 

Training day was a great event in those days. All men 
between the ages of 18 and 45 were enrolled in the militia and 
were required to assemble at stated times, organize into com- 
panies, choose officers and do a certain amount of drilling each 
year. How they got their dinners on training days, I have not 
yet learned. But I have learned from one who was there, that 
the beverage they consumed was not all drawn from the tavern 
well, near which they generally assembled. New England rum 
was cheap (about 60 cents a gallon) and on that day it was 
plenty and free for every militiaman. The expense was paid 
by the officers, the non-commissioned officers being assessed 
about 25 cents each, and the commissioned officers paying larger 
sums, according to their rank, but the "grog" was free, and we 
may well believe the reports of those days, that some of the 
men drank more of it than was for their good. I have been 
informed that at the last training of the Wilbraham company. 

214 The History of Wilbraham 

they marched to North Wilbraham and then along the roadbed 
of the Great Western Railroad, as the Boston and Albany was 
then called, which had been graded, but the ties and rails had 
not been laid. That must have been about 1838. Philip P. 
Potter was the last captain of the -Wilbraham company, and 
Col. Benjamin Butler the last colonel of the regiment, which 
must have been composed of companies from several towns. 
They both retained their titles while they lived, being familiarly 
spoken of as Colonel Butler and Captain Potter. 

It appears, from a study of the treasurer's accounts of the 
town, that the bills were not always paid during the year that 
there were incurred. I find the following: 

"1834, Apr. 9, To pajdng Selectmen's order to William S. 
Burt dated May 10, 1830 marked No. 1 Letter A. $88.38 
Interest on the same 20.81." 

On one page of the account for 1831, I find that interest was 
paid on eight different orders given in 1829 and 1830. The 
largest being $23.00, and the smallest $1.65. There are many 
similar charges of interest paid. 

On the same page I find that the treasurer credits himself 
"Depreciated money $3.00." 

In 1827, I find the treasurer charges himself, "By Cash of 
William Knight Esq. being one half of a fine collected of 
Erasmus Glover for Profane Swearing .50." 

Also, "Mar. 20, 1832, Paid Aaron Bliss for Surveying the 
Town $62.90." A copy of this survey has now been secured 
for the town. 


"The road from Boston to Worcester was opened for traffic 
July 4th, 1835. 

"Passenger trains were run from Boston to Springfield, Oct. 
1st, 1839. 

"In Oct., 1841, the road was finished to the N. Y. State line 
and on Dec. 24, 1841, trains began runniag between Boston 
and Albany, on the longest continuous line of railway then in 
operation in the United States." 

The History of Wilbbaham 215 

The line was then owned by three corporations, which were 
consolidated 'under the name of the Boston and Albany on 
December 1st, 1867. The road from Springfield to Hartford 
and New Haven was opened in 1844. The road from Spring- 
field to Northampton and beyond, was put in operation about 
1847. In 1847, a company was incorporated to build a line 
from New London to Springfield, but the route was changed 
to Palmer, and was opened September 20, 1850. 

In connection with the opening of the Boston and Albany 
Railroad, the following letter from Delos D. Merrick to his 
brother Wm. W. Merrick, both of this town, may be of interest. 
(Delos D. Merrick went to Wellfleet to teach school.) 

"Wellfleet Mass. Dec. 22->d 1834 
"Dear Brother — . . . . let me tell you about my joumey. 
I arrived here the next sabbath after I started. We arrived at 
Ware about 8 o'clock, left there about seven the next morning. 
Arrived at Worcester about 12 same day which was Friday, 
left there 12J^, arrived at Westboro in season to take the 
railroad for Boston we drove 7 miles from there with a horse 
fastened to the car to a place calF Hopkinton where we waited 
till 20 minutes before 5 we then started with steam and with 
such rapidity that I was astonished for I must say that I 
never rode as fast as that before, they go at the rate of 20 
miles per hour we soon arrived at Boston . . . Permit me 
to tell you one thing, censvire me not for you know I wanted 
to see all I could by way of improvement. I visited the Theatre 
I did not have any idea of it it was beautiful" 

(Left Boston Simday morning by boat, reached Wellfleet 
same day. Two friends of his who sailed from Boston on 
Friday reached there at same time.) 

When the " Great Western Railroad " (now Boston & Albany) 
was built in 1839, a station was established near the northwest 
part of our town, about forty or sixty rods east of where our 
present West Street nms tmder the railroad, and about mid- 
way between the two houses now standing there. Elisha Fuller 
kept a tavern, located a few rods north of the station, on the 
north side of the present highway and just west of the branch 
road that runs down towards the Chicopee River. In the 

216 The History of Wilbhaham 

days before the Connecticut River Railroad was built, a stage 
ran daily between that station and Northampton. About 
1840 to 1845, a family from the South had come to Northampton 
to visit friends, bringing with them a colored nurse-girl, who 
was a slave. It was against the sentiment of the community 
in those days for a slave to tread the sacred soil of Massachu- 
setts. Probably some rabid abolitionist must have given the 
information to the society in Boston that a slave was there, 
for two men came from Boston and compelled her to go with 
them. She came in the stage with them to Mr. Ftiller's tavern, 
and broken-hearted told her story to him. When those men 
ordered dinner for themselves, and said that she could eat 
afterwards or with the servants of the house, Mr. Fuller was 
very indignant, and told them, " If they had dinner there, they 
would all eat at the same table, and at the same time." She 
was taken to Boston, told she was free, and could take care of 
herself. In a few weeks, only a month I think, she was back, 
on her way to Northampton, and trying to find her friends, 
from whom she was so cruelly separated. This incident of the 
old abolition days was told me by a daughter of Mr Fuller, 
who though only a child at the time, remembers it very well. 

This railroad station was moved in 1851, to what is now 
called "Oak Street" Station, and the tavern soon followed. 
Both being moved on Sunday, by the railroad, on four plat- 
form cars, two on each track, and the tavern was set on its 
foundation without even disturbing a glass of water, full to the 
brim, setting on a shelf in the dining room. About 1859, Mr. 
Fuller moved to Springfield, and conducted the Hampden 
Hotel, in the block now occupied by Smith & Murray's store. 

The present station at North Wilbraham was established 
about 1852. 

The Athol branch, now operated by the Boston & Albany, 
was built from Barrett's Junction to Springfield in 1873, and a 
station established in Ludlow, just across the Chicopee River 
from our north village, which was named "Collins," in honor 
of the first station agent at North Wilbraham, which was once 
called "Collins' Depot." 


First Station Agent, also 

First Postmaster at North Wilbraham. 



Proprietor of the Stage Line between North 

Wilbraham and Wilbraham for many years. 



The History of Wilbbaham 


And the first Railroad Station at North Wilbraham, The building is now standing 
a little east of "Collins Inn." 


Somewhere about 1854 or 1855, a stock company was formed 
here for the purpose of supplying our center village with water. 
A reservoir was made on the west side of, and about half way 
up the mountain, and an aqueduct of pine logs was laid to the 
Main Street and for about half a mile in the street. I well 
remember, when a boy, of seeing the long auger, run by steam 
power, eating its way lengthwise through those logs and the 
bushels of chips which rolled out of the end of the log where 
the auger entered. The boring was done in a lot on the east 
side of the Main Street, directly in front of the south end of the 
present boarding house of Wilbraham Academy. The specifica- 
tions required that the logs should be eight inches in diameter 
at the small end. They bored a hole four inches in diameter 
through each log, leaving at the best only two inches of sappy 
V green wood around the hole, and as I have been told, when the 
water was turned on the logs began to burst before the water 

The History op Wilbkaham 219 

got down into the village. The broken places were patched up, 
and the water was kept running after a fashion for a few years, 
but at such an expense for repairs that after a short time the 
system was abandoned, and the reservoir sold later to Wil- 
braham Academy, and about thirty-five years ago an iron pipe 
was pushed through the hole in the old logs for part of the 
way, and now serves to convey water to their boarding house 
from what is called the "Upper Reservoir." 

The following is a copy of an assessment made upon the 
stockholders, found among the papers left by William W. 

"Wilbraham June le'*- 1856. 

"To William W. Merrick Esq. Treasurer of the 

"Wilbraham Aqueduct Company. 

"The Board of Directors of the Company have directed that 
an instalment of six dollars on each share of the capital stock 
of said Company be required to be paid into the hands of the 
Treasurer at the expiration of ten days from the 28th day of 
May last past. In accordance with this resolution I have placed 
in the hands of Hiram M. Brewer Collector of the Company 
the Subjoined bills. It is the wish of the directors that you use 
all due dilligence to cause the same to be collected and paid 
into your hands and made subject to the drafts of the Secretary 
and Auditor. 

'L. B. Bliss 




R. Glover 




Geo Bishop 




Edmund Jones 




Edwin B. Brewer 




Roderick Burt 




Robert R. Wright 




William E. Brewer 




James W. Mowry 




Nelson Mowry 




Samuel F. Pickering 




John M. Merrick 




Ezra White 




Mrs Lydia Virgin 




, The History of Wilbkaham 

Hiram M. Brewer 2 Shares 12.00 

James Rice (transfered to John M. Merrick) 6.00 
Jesse W. Rice 2 do 12.00 

William W. Merrick 4 do 24.00 

Whole amount 396.00" 

None of these stockholders are now living, but I remember 
all but three of them. They were capable and energetic, and 
we regret that thejr venture was not more successful. 


The Wesleyan Academy, as it was originally called and, as 
its name indicates, was closely connected with the Methodist 
Church. During the first fifty years after the Methodist 
Church was organized but few efforts were made to found 
educational institutions. Cokesbury College in Maryland was 
built, and twice destroyed by fire, but nothing further was 
done in the cause of education by the Methodist Church until 
the year 1818, when the Wesleyan Academy was inaugurated 
and located at Newmarket New Hampshire. The Wesleyan 
Academy had but very limited success during the entire time 
of its location at Newmarket, and its founders with other 
friends of education in the Methodist Church began inquiring 
for a better location, and proposals were invited. On the 30th 
of December, 1823, the following vote was passed by the 
trustees: "Whereas, the Academy under our superintendence 
has not met with that encouragement which we were induced 
to expect. Therefore, voted, that we suspend our operations 
for the present." 

The citizens of Wilbraham offered valuable inducements, 
including subscriptions to the amount of more than $2,000 and 
the present site of the institution was selected, a board of 
trustees nominated, and an act of incorporation obtained from 
the Massachusetts Legislature. The act was approved by the 
Governor on the 7th of February, 1824, a few days more than 
a month after operations were suspended at Newmarket. 
The Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham and the Newmarket 

The Histoky of Wilbraham 221 

Wesleyan Academy were therefore one and the same institution 
with only a change of location and legal authority, and claimed 
the honor of being the oldest existing literary institution, under 
the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. 

On land donated by Wm. Rice, Esq., of Springfield, formerly 
of Wilbraham, known as the "Academy Lot," with the avails 
of donations collected by agents who travelled extensively 
through the Conference, the "Old Academy" building was 
erected. A farm of sixty acres — one-half of the Warriner 
homestead, was purchased, and the old house enlarged and 
fitted for a boarding-house. This house was first built by Wm. 
Rice for a hotel and had been used for several years by the 
Warriners for that purpose. As the main tide of travel had 
moved aside from them, they found business not paying and 
were ready to sell. For some time the chief profit had been 
derived from special gatherings for convivial and military 
purposes which often proved to be "high times." On one 
occasion, after freely imbibing of the liquors kept within, the 
revellers rode their horses in at the large front door, through 
the hall and out the back way. The purchase of this property 
was a fortxmate investment. It removed what would have 
been a source of constant temptation to the students, and at 
the same time gave them precisely the property most conven- 
iently located for the purposes of , the school. 

The school was opened November 8th, 1825, and the ntimber 
of students the first day was eight, during the term, thirty- 

From these small beginnings the institution was at once 
encouraged by unexpected success which has continued with 
more or less variations. To assist indigent students, by making 
the institution, as far as means wotdd allow, a manual-labor 
school, a mechanic shop was erected, and incipient arrange- 
ments were made for an agricultural department. This experi- 
ment did not prove successful, however, and the mechanic shop 
was soon enlarged and converted into a laboratory, with recita- 
tion rooms, museum, and cabinet for the department of Natural 

The Histoey of Wilbbaham 223 

Dr. Fisk, the principal, at first lived on the Work's place, a 
mile down street. This was on the site of the first house south 
of Federal Lane, on the east side of our Main Street, now 
owned by Wm. T. Eaton. A house was built for the principal 
in 1827-28 on the site of the present house and used as the 
residence of the principals for twenty-eight years, until 1856, 
when it was removed a short distance to the west and fitted up 
for students, and the ne.w one was built. 

In 1851, the building known as Fisk Hall was erected; and 
in 1854 the old laboratory was removed and Binney Hall took 
its place. On the 4th of January, 1856, the boarding-house 
took fire and was entirely consumed. A substantial brick 
building was begun in August of that year and completed in 
1857, when it was^again destroyed by the flames.. After nearly 
two years' delay, another building to take its place was com- 
menced, and was ready for students at the fall term in 1861, 
and has been in use since that time. It was named "Rich 
Hall" in honor of one of the principal donors of the fimd for 
its erection. 

In 1896, the Smith Memorial Gymnasium was erected, at a 
cost of about $45,000, given by Horace Smith, or his estate, 
for that purpose. In June, 1911, the school was closed as a 
co-educational institution, and . extensive changes and altera- 
tions were made in Rich Hall, and some improvements in other 
buildings, and was opened in September, 1912, as a School for 
Boys. The present principal, or "head master," is Gaylord W. 
Douglas. We hope the Academy will be as successful in its 
new field of labor, as it has been in the past. 

From a printed catalogue of the Academy I gather some 
items of interest. The cover page reads: 

The History of Wilbraham 

Wesleyan Academy 


Summer and Fall Terms 


The catalogue contains the names of 202 males, and 198 
females who attended the school, making a total of 400. But, 
the names of 43 males and 52 females are marked with a dash, 
to show that they had left the school. Probably some who 
attended the svimmer term, did not attend in the fall, and some 
who attended the fall term, did not attend in the summer. 

The place where the students boarded, or roomed is also 

79 males boarded at "Seminary," as it is called, and 50 
females at "Seminary L. A." 

74 males and 97 females boarded, or had rooms, in private 
houses, the names of the places being given. 18 females made 
their home with Miss Allen, 12 with Mrs. Potter, 8 males and 
3 females with Mrs. Moody, 10 males with Rev. E. Otis, and in 
smaller numbers at other places. In all, the names of 32 places 
are given where the students boarded, or had rooms; many 
probably boarded themselves, and that custom was continued ■ 
down to quite recent times. 

The Catalogue continues. 

The History of Wilbhaham 



"The year is divided into four Terms, corresponding as 
nearly as possible with the four Seasons. The Winter Term 
will commence on the first Wednesda,y in December, and the 
Spring Term on the first Wednesday in March. The Winter 
and Spring Terms will each be preceded by a vacation of one 


"The price of board, exclusive of washing, fuel and lights, 
$1.50 per week. Washing, 25 cts. per doz. Board may be 
obtained in private families for from 11.50 to $2.00 per week. 


"For conimon English studies, per Term . 


For each higher branch of Mathematics . 


Botany ....... 


Natural Philosophy ..... 


Chemistry ....... 


Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and Italian 


Ornamental Branches 


"In no case, however, shall the charges for regular instruction 
exceed $5 per Term, except for Music, the Ornamental Branches, 
and Lectures in Book-Keeping." 

In regard to the location of the Academy building, I 
copy from the History of Wilbraham Academy, published in 

"In the minds of the committee, Calvin Brewer's place, next 
the store had the preference. — Sixty-five acres in that beautiful 
locality for $3,500, was not high. — ^They made further search 
in the vicinity, coming back each time to this spot. The com- 
mittee is ordered to close the bargain. The papers are drawn 
up. — The bargain was nearly closed, the owner thought it was 
closed, when the committee began to hesitate and inquire. 
They looked at the Brown farm and the Merrick farm with 
some longing, only to return to the Brewer place. The board 
ordered the deeds ' to be executed and placed in the hands of a 
third party until April when the trustees may have the option 
of taking them and paying therefor, should they be unable, 
meantime, to effect a purchase of the Merrick farm.' 'The 

The History op Wilbkaham 

purchase of the Merrick farm was not effected. The Brewer 
trade also failed, which proved so great a grief to the owner 
that he applied to the trustees for damages. 

"But the arbitrators to whom the matter was referred 
exonerated the committee of the board." 

It is a matter of interest to us today, as to the location of 
those places. The Merrick farm was about one fourth of a mile 
south of the present location of the academy. The place is 
now owned by Mr. M. C. Wade, but was owned by the Merrick 
family for more than one hundred and fifty years. 

The Brewer farm included the land on both sides of Main 
Street, now occupied by the Methodist parsonage and my own 
home, on the west side, and by the store and house of F. A. 
Gumey on the east side. The farm was about 21 rods wide and 
extended easterly to the "middle road," and westerly to near 
Pole Bridge Brook. Bounded southerly by Springfield Street, 
part of the way, and northerly by the north line of the road 
leading up the mountain. 


I have made a diligent search to find something definite on 
this subject, but have not succeeded as well as I hoped. 

From the Deacon Warriner will, a copy of which will be fotmd 
on another page, it will be seen that he left a legacy of £200 to 
the town, the income to be used for the support of schools. 
There were also two school lots, each containing about 145 
acres, which were sold about 1772. The school lots were about 
half as large as the ministry lots, and probably sold for about 
1416. There was also some overplus land, the sale of which 
may have increased this sum. 


In 1836 the United States had a surplus of money in the 
treasury, and on June 23, 1836, Congress passed an Act that 
all -money in the treasury above $5,000,000 should be deposited 
with the states in proportion to their representation in Congress, 

The History of Wilbraham 

subject to be called for by the United States, under certain 
specified conditions. 

In the Acts of the Massachusetts Legislature of 1837, Chapter 
109, it was "Provided that the several towns in the State shall 
receive their proportional share" of the fund, subject to be 
called back by the State Treasurer, if required by the United 
States Treasurer. Section 4 provided, "The several towns 
aforesaid shall apply the money SO deposited with them, or the 
interest upon the same, to those public objects of expenditure 
for which they may now lawfully raise and appropriate money, 
and to no other purpose." The Act further provided that 
"$2,500.00 of the money should be retained by the State and 
loaned, and the income to be paid annually as follows: The 
income from $1,000.00, to the treasurer of the District of 
Marshpee. One half of the income from 11,200.00, to the 
guardian of the Chappequiddick and Christiantown Indians, 
and one half to the benefit of the Indians at Gay Head; And to 
the treasurer of the Herring Pond Indians, the income of 1300.00. 
All of the income to be used for the support of schools in said 
places." I have copied this last section to show some of the 
wards the state had seventy-five years ago. 

I learn from the office of the Secretary of State, that the 
State of Massachusetts received, in three payments, the .sum 
of $1,335,673.58. 

The State Treasurer informs me that there was paid for the 
town of Wilbraham as follows: "On May 17, 1837 there was 
paid to Hon. John Howard $2,965.65." And, "on July 27, 
1837, there was paid to C. Sprague Esq. $1,146.10." Making 
a total of $4,111.75. The State Treasurer says : " It is apparent 
that in 1837 these checks were drawn to individuals. I assume 
that Messrs. Howard and Sprague must have been designated 
by the town to receive this money." I do not find that there 
were any such men as "Hon. John Howard," or, "C. Sprague 
Esq.," then living in this town, or in any of the surrounding 
towns, at that time. But evidently the town received the 
money. The town treasurer's account for many years, shows 
that he received "$56.09, interest on the town loan" each year, 

The History of Wilbhaham 

previous to 1838. Which would imply that the fund then 
was $934.84. 

Beginning with 1838, the sum received for interest is much 
more, sometimes more than $300 in one year. On March 29, 
1839, the treasurer credits himself, "Cash paid for Blank Book 
for Committee on Loans, $1.25." 

Probably the several funds were placed with the Loan Com- 
mittee, and loaned by them to individuals, and when the 
interest was paid to the committee, it was handed over by 
them to the town treasurer. The first definite reference in the 
treasurer's account to the surplus revenue, that I have found 
is, "Mar. 28, 1838, By Cash Surplus Revenue for Bridge 
$300.00." Probably this $300 was used in building the bridge 
over the Chicopee River, called "Red Bridge." For, on April 
6, 1837, the town "Voted to unite with the town of Ludlow in 
rebuilding the bridge over Chicopee river near Jonathan Burr's, 
and chose "John Carpenter and Abel Bliss a committee to carry 
the same into effect." The next reference is, "Apr. 2, 1838, 
Voted that when the town receives the residue of the Surplus 
Revenue the selectmen 'be instructed to take $450.00 of the 
same to pay monies they have borrowed." 

It does not appear that the town ever received any surplus 
revenue from the state, after July 27, 1837. On April 26, 1837, 
"Luther Brewer, Wm. S. Burt and John Carpenter were chosen 
a committee to take care of all Loan Money belonging to the 
Town," and instructed to loan no man more than five hundred 
dollars at one time." As I have said, the town had the right to 
use this Surplus Revenue fund for ordinary expenses. But it 
was loaned out for some years. As near as I can ascertain, it 
was probably used as follows (Copied from treasurer's account 
of receipts) : 

"Mar. 28, 1838, Surplus Revenue for Bridge $300.00 

Oct. 17, & 25, 1851, (probably for bridge at North Wilbraham) 1985.95 

Jan. 5, & 15, 1852, " " ' " 163.50 

Mar. 31, & Apr. 3, 1852 " " " " " " 184.55 

Apr. 7, 1856 487.50 

In Mar. Apr. May & Nov. 1863, (War expenses probably) 914.13 


230 The History of Wilbkaham 

This wotild nearly use up the Surplus Revenue which the 
town received. 

Then there was the Town Loan, which would include the 
Deacon Warriner legacy of $666.66, and the amount derived 
from the sale of the two school lots, about $416, total $1,082.66. 

The treasurer also received, in addition to the amounts 
given above, 

"Mar. 28, 1864 From Town Loan Com. 799.87 

July 20, 1864 " " School fund 98.67 

Nov. 22, 1851 " " " " 101.91 


These accounts do not quite balance, and the remainder was 
doubtless received by the treasurer and entered with the 
"interest from loan Com." 

Previous to 1837, the interest on the Town Loan, for many 
years, was $56.09. That would be the interest, at 6 per cent on 

From 1838 to about 1863 the treasurer received different 
amounts each year as "interest on the town loan." 

The town, having used the funds, to pay various expenses, 
the selectmen gave a note to the Loan Committee, probably 
in 1866. The note probably was for $1,705.17. The yearly 
interest on that note, at 6 per cent, would be $102.31, and that 
sum was paid each year as interest on the "Town Loan" up to 
March 15th, 1878, when the South Parish was set off as the 
Town of Hampden, and I suppose they assumed their propor- 
tion of the town debts, according to the respective valuation of 
the two parishes, which was, North Parish, about 8-13, South 
Parish about 5-13 of the entire valuation of the town, which was, 

The present Town Loan Committee, Mr. J. M. Perry, in- 
forms me that the note which he now has is dated March 31, 
1911, and signed by F. W. Green and G. L. Rindge, selectmen, 
and was given to replace one that had become dilapidated. 
The amount of the note is $1308.40, and the interest, $78.50, is 

The History of Wilbeaham 231 

paid yearly by the town and added to the amount appropriated 
for schools. 

The source from which this fund was derived was about as 

1780, Legacy from Deacon Nathaniel Wamner, $666.66 
1772, Sale of 2 School lots, 8-13 of same, about, 256.00 
Other Sources, perhaps some from surplus revenue, 385.74 


A Mr. Clark, who left the county, is said to have given his 
lot for the support of schools. 

It is quite probable that within a few years the town will be 
reqtaired to restore this fund, and place it on deposit, so that 
there will be an actual income received from it, which will be 
applied to the support of schools. The state authorities are 
looking up such matters in the towns throughout the state, and 
in some cases have found that such funds have disappeared, 
probably through carelessness in bookkeeping, and the source 
from which the fund was derived, or the names of the donors of 
it, have been forgotten. In the case of Wilbraham, the town 
borrowed the money from the Town Loan Committee and gave 
a note for it. The interest has been paid yearly and added to 
the amount appropriated for schools. If it is restored, as I 
expect it will be, I hope it will be deposited in a savings bank 
and called. The Deacon Warriner & School Lot Fund. 

Since the foregoing was written, eight reports of the Town 
Loan Committee have been found among btindles of old papers 
in the town clerk's ofHce. They are for the years ending April 
1st, 1842, '43, '44, 1852, '53, '54, '55, '57. In the eariier reports 
the accounts of the "Old Town Loan" and of the "Surplus 
Revenue" are kept separate. In 1843, the total amount of the 
"Old Town Loan" is reported to be $934.61, and the "Surplus 
Revenue" as $4,111.65. These figures vary but a few cents 
trom those which I have previously given. In 1852, the "Com- 
mittee on the Town Loan and Surplus Revenue" report, "That 
agreeabel to a Vote of the Town last April, we have collected 
the amount required, on obligations notes and bonds due the 

232 The History of Wilbhaham 

town, the sum of $2,334.00, and have paid the same to the 
Town Treasurer." As I have already said, most of this last 
sum was probably used to build the bridge over Chicopee River, 
at North Wilbraham. Judging from these reports, the figures 
which I have previously given are substantially correct. 

Built about 1852. 


The history of the times, from about 1840, to about 1860, 
would hardly be complete without some reference to the weird 
and startling teachings of a class of preachers who proclaimed, 
with great earnestness and -zeal, that the end of the world was 
swiftly approaching. 

The "Stebbins History" says: "Then came the Millerites, 
or 'Adventists' as they are now called, and awakened great 
interest and not a little terror in some minds, by their ' demon- 
strations ' from the horns of Daniel's beasts, and the 'time and 
times and half a time' of his prophecies, that the world would 
be burned up in April 1843. Fortunately or unfortunately, the 
consuming fire did not descend nor the watching saints ascend, 
and the ' demonstrations ' failing, a large portion of the interest 
failed with it." But the interest continued to some extent. 
About 1854, I remember hearing Dr. Abial Bottom, of South 

The History of Wilbraham 233 

Wilbraham, telling my great-uncle, Dr. Gideon Kibbe, of an 
experience of his, while driving along our Main Street towards 
his home, a little south of "The Green." It was in the early 
evening and suddenly his horse stopped, apparently half 
frightened at something he saw up in a tree close at hand. The 
doctor himself looked and saw a shape resembling a human 
figure, up among the branches and he asked, "WJiat are you 
doing up there, this time of night? " A woman's voice answered, 
substantially, "Before the morning sun shall rise, the fires from 
heaven will descend and this earth will be melted in the fierce 
heat. I have on my ascension robe, and am waiting to be 
wafted to the realms of light beyond the skies." The sound of 
the woman's voice relieved the anxiety of the horse, and the 
doctor drove on to his home without giving any advice. 

About 1854, a bam was burned on the east side of our Main 
Street, just north of the Soldiers' Monument lot. I heard it 
told that a meeting was held in a near-by house, an evening or 
two afterwards, and one of the speakers, in a state of great 
excitement, was discussing the imminent conflagration of the 
world, and he went on to tell how the trial of fire had already 
commenced, and said, "Before another week shall pass, the 
fires shall descend and destroy another building here in Wilbra- 
ham." Sure enough, within the week, the bam next to the 
other took fire and was entirely destroyed. 

One of these bams stood in the rear of the house now owned 
by F. A. Gurney, and the other in rear of the old "Virgin 
House" which was torn down a few years ago. I do not re- 
member which burned first. I was then about ten years old 
and, with other boys, ran to each fire, when the alarm bell 

I remember attending a camp meeting, in the grove on the 
hill easterly of Grace Church, in 1854, or 1855, when the 
Crimean War was being fought, and the speaker referred to the 
conflict then being waged in the Far East, and went on to say 
that the war in the Crimea wotild spread over the entire earth, 
and that every nation of the world would become involved in 

The Histoet of Wilbbaham 

In these days, it is hard to realize the state of mind of those 
persons who believed in that doctrine. But I believe that most 
of them were sincere. 

The following is copied from a sermon, delivered on the pre- 
diction that the world would come to an end in 1843. 






THE YEAR 1843. 


The Congregational Church, 

Sabbath Evening, June 12th, 1842. 


"A copy of the sermon was furnished for publication at the 
request of a committee from the society, dated June 23, 1842, 
and signed by: 

S. Clark Spelman, 1 ■ 

Cortez Russell, \ Cominittee 

John S. Beebe, J 

The History of Wilbkaham 235 


"But can ye not discern the signs of the times ?" — Matt. 16:3. 
. . . . " It is not my present design to go into a general con- 
sideration of the signs of the times. 

"My course is determined by recent strange doings in the 
conmiunity. A class of men have arisen, who by means of 
papers, books, and public lectures, are attempting to alarm 
the public mind, with the idea that some unusual crisis is at 
hand. They boldly maintain, that the signs of the present 
time are such as the scriptures inform us shall immediately 
precede the second coming of Christ, and the dissolution of the 

"The awful nature of the subject forbids, that in handling it, 
I should have any regard to personal feelings or prejudices. 
.... (He then speaks of some interesting phenomena in 
those times, and says) : "Our only course, therefore, is to look 
back, and to compare the present with the past. Go back, then, 
in imagination, one hundred years, and look around upon the 
prodigies then taking place. . . . (He then mentions an 
earthquake of prodigious extent in Europe and Africa which) 
.... has shaken half the globe, buried cities in ruins, split 
the earth into hideous chasms, which have swallowed many 
thousands of mankind .... and tossed the ocean into an 
unusual ferment for thousands of miles. . . . Strange meteros, 
.... a fiery bloody-colored sky .... three unusual 
circles intersecting the sun and each other. . . . This is a 
description given by an eye-witness, of events which took place 
about the middle of the last century. So far is it from being 
true that the present time is distinguished by such events, that 
you can fix on no period since the beginning of the Christian 
era, when they have been less frequent. ... So far, there- 
fore, as these signs are concerned, we should suppose that we 
were on the eve of the reign of imiversal peace, rather than of 
the world's dissolution. I must then ask. What think ye of the 
men, who in the face of these facts, presume to taUc in the fol- 
lowing manner? 'Who is so blind as not to be able to see in the 
present age a fulfillment of the above-mentioned signs. . . ' ?* 
.... Think again of that strange compound of reason and 
madness, Emmanuel Swedenborg, the learned Swedish noble- 
man. What was the main element of his delusion ? It was, that 
in 1757, Christ came to judgment, and began the new heavens. 

*"The Midnight Cry," p. 65. 

236 The History of Wilbbaham 

and the new earth ! That strange community the Shakers, had 
their origin also, in the same thing. Anna Leese, their mother, 
maintained that her coming was the second coming of Christ! 
And the Mormons — the abhorrence, and the laughing stock of 
the world, interweave the same doctrine into their abominable 
system. . . . 

"How vmhappy for their cause, then, is the metaphor which 
these men employ, when they say 'The gospel, like the sun, 
arose in the East, and "will set in the West!' .... They 
maintain with the boldest effrontry, that the restilt of their 
speculations upon the prophecies, has the same claim to our 
belief as any doctrine of revealed truth. . . . The natural 
result of such a representation, I need not describe. When 
yonder little girl said, 'Mother, I want to die this summer — 
I don't want to live next year and be burnt up,' she gave a 
better view of it than could be obtained from any lengthened 
description of mine. And now it is proclaimed to the world, 
that God does 'own and bless' the preaching of this doctrine. 
.... Now my friends, I place myself in imagination for- 
ward beyond the year 1843. ... I see the sun as usual rolling 
around the world, and men engaged as they now are, in the 
pursuits of life. I pause and listen to the talk of different classes 
of men. Yonder I see a club of infidels, and as they make 
merry, and fill the air with profane jests, I hear such expressions 
as these : 'Aye, I knew it was so. The Bible is proved a lie, and 
its religion priestcraft.' I see them — with new zeal scatter the 
books of Voltaire and Paine, and with them ' The Midnight 
Cry ' I I look again, and I see another circle, who talk in the 
following manner; 'Aye, I knew it was so. The notion of a 
general judgment is a bugbear; the necessity of conversion is 
a mere dogma; revivals of religion are all a farce.' .... 
Oh, tell me not that this will do no harm. I therefore feel 
called upon for myself, and in behalf of the friends of truth, 
now beforehand, solemnly to protest, that we disown all par- 
ticipation in this scheme, and we disclaim all responsibility for 
its results. . . . And to the man, who, in 1844, shall attempt 
to turn this scheme and its results against the Bible, and against 
religion. I say Hold! This scheme is no part of the Bible. 
. . . . It is a scheme of wicked or deluded men ; and to their 
account place its results. . . . Let nothing which I have said 
lead to the icjea, that I have any feeling of animosity toward 
the men, who are engaged in propagating this scheme. For if 
they are under a delusion, I do most sincerely, and deeply pity 
them. . . . But if my fellow men will not hear this message. 

The History of Wilbbaham 237 

which God has bid me deliver, I may not resort to cvmningly 
devised fables: for the moment that I do, I place myself on 
the same level with the priest of the heathen temple, and the 
minister of the man of sin. The gospel which we preach com- 
mends itself to every man's conscience; and God forbid that 
I should forsake this and turn to fables. . . . May God give 
me grace never to fear to speak the whole truth, when duty 
demands it, even though I shall thereby drive from me my 
nearest friends." 


In introducing the subject of the Revolutionary War, Dr. 
Stebbins said: "The epic of this period yet remains to be 
recited. ... In this hour of our country's trial and peril, 
when the continent trembles under the tread of contending 
armies, and the air is torn with the thunder of cannon, and the 
war shout." 

If the Revolutionary War was the epic of that period, then 
the account of the times which we are approaching, may be 
called the story of the tragic days of 1861-1865. 

At the centennial celebration of the incorporation of the 
town, speaking of the work which had been wrought here by 
our ancestors. Rev. Dr. Stebbins, near the close of his address, 

"As they nobly bore their share in' the burdens and perils of 
the war of invasion, and of independence, so now you rise in 
the glory of your strength to crush rebellion and vindicate free- 
dom. If Warriner, and Warner, and Merrick, and Bliss, and 
Brewer, and Chapin, and Langdon, and Stebbins, and Morris, 
rushed to the field to throw off the yoke of British oppression, 
and wring from royal lips the confession of our independence 
and nationality, their sons, not less patriotic, not less heroic, 
have left home and wife and child, to ' preserve ' the sacred ark 
of liberty and the holy standard of freedom. The blood of the 
loved and the brave has been poured out like water that the 
sin of oppression may be attoned for; and the cry for help from 
the struggling country .... will not be disregarded. . . . 
The hour of God's eternal purpose has struck. Not sprinkled 
with the blood of lambs, but with the blood of men, does he 
now keep his people's passover. The flaming sword of the 

238 The History of Wilbbaham 

avenging angel stretches over the land, and the bondmen go 
out under it. Glory to God in the Highest." 

Today, fifty years afterwards, it is hard for most of us to 
realize the tremendous import of those prophetic words. 

When they were spoken here, the War of the Rebellion was 
at its worst. The battle of Gettysburg had not been fought, 
and Vicksburg had .not fallen. The tide of battle, of victory 
and defeat, flowed backward and forward in an irregular line 
across the continent, from the Atlantic to beyond the Missis- 
sippi, in an awful sea of blood. 

At that time, about one hundred and fifty of the men of 
Wilbraham, with sword or musket in their hands, offered their 
bodies as a breastwork to stay the on-rushing forces of dis- 
union and disintegration. And today, because of their heroic 
service, and that of the hundreds of thousands who served with 
them, we have a reunited, and a United country. It is prac- 
tically impossible, at this time, to convey to the minds of the 
generations bom since those eventful days, any conception of 
the feeling of intense anxiety and suppressed excitement which 
pervaded the entire North during the early part of 1861, and 
for several years previous. 

The question Of the extension of slavery into the new states, 
then being settled in the West, kept the entire country in a 
turmoil of excitement. A special committee of Congress' was 
appointed to investigate the ' ' Troubles in Kansas. ' ' A minority 
of the committee reported in 1856. Their report fills a volume 
of more than twelve hundred pages. On page 445, I find that 
Edmund Jones voted at an election held in their town of 
Lawrence on March 30, 1855. Edmund Jones was a Wilbraham 
man. How long he remained out there I do not know. But 
late in the autumn of 1855 or 1856 he came back to Wilbraham, 
and one evening quite a large company of his friends and 
neighbors gathered in the old First Church (the one which was 
moved down from Wigwam Hill), while he told some of his 
experiences in that hastily settled state. "Bleeding Kansas," 
it was then generally called. 

The History of Wilbbaham 239 

As I remember the occasion, the incidents he related were 
mostly concerning the numerous street brawls and fights which 
occurred among those early pioneers, drawn there by the all- 
important question of whether Kansas should be a free or a 
slave state. We may well believe that, through him, Wilbra- 
ham had a voice, or a vote, in settling that important question. 
Mr. Jones lived for a good many years in the house on the west 
side of Main Street, opposite the road which leads up to the 
Woodland Dell Cemetery. It is the house with the colonial 
pillars. He built it. 

The question of the extension of slavery had agitated the 
country for a long time, and was regarded by different sections 
of our union of states in such an entirely different way, that 
none of the compromises attempted were sufficient to settle the 
difficulty, and one sad day, April 12th, 1861, the voice of the 
cannon demanded the surrender of the United States forces at 
Fort Sumter, S. C. On April 15th, only three days later. Presi- 
dent Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for three months. On 
April 20th, 1861, Charles E. Buell, of this town, enlisted in 
answer to that call. He was the first man to enlist from Wil- 
braham, and when the three months were completed, he 
reenlisted into the 10th Massachusetts Infantry, which was 
then gathering on Hampden Park in Springfield. His home 
was about one mile north of our Center village, on the west side 
of Main Street, where Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Knowlton lived 
imtil a short time ago. The place is now owned by Mr. O. L. 
Millard. The cannon at Fort Stmiter aroused the North as 
from a trance, party distinctions were for a time swept away, 
and there was but one party worth the name — the party for the 
Union. In Wilbraham, "War Meetings," usually addressed by 
local speakers, were held every few weeks, in one of the churches, 
and the principal thought in each address was, "The Union, It 
Must And Shall Be Preserved." And the young men were 
importuned and entreated to give their lives, if need be, to 
preserve the Union established by the fathers. And — the 
young men responded. About sixty enlisted dtiring the re- 
mainder of the year of 1861, and before the war was ended the 

240 The Histoey of Wilbeaham 

town of Wilbraham had furnished 228 men for the army and 
navy, as shown on the Rebellion Records of our town. The 
"History of Massachusetts in the Civil War," published by 
William Schouler in 1871, gives us credit for "two hundred and 
twenty three men for the war (and adds) which was a surplus of 
twenty-six over and above all demands. . . Four were com- 
missioned officers. . . . The whole amount of money appro- 
priated and expended by the town on account of the war, 
exclusive of State aid, was thirteen thousand two hundred and 
fifty-five dollars. ($13,255.00). 

"The amount of money raised and expended by the town for 
State aid to soldiers families during the war, and which was 
repaid by the Commonwealth, was ten thousand eight hundred 
six dollars and ten cents. ($10,806.10)." The same History 
says: "The ladies of Wilbraham contributed liberally of their 
time and means to the comfort of the soldiers. One lady made 
two feather-beds into pillows for them." 

The pillows were probably sent to some hospital. They 
would have been comfortable in camp but very inconvenient 
to carry while on the march. 

No bounties were paid to those who enlisted until after 
July 1st, 1862. On July 26th, 1862, "The selectmen were 
authorized to pay a bounty of one htmdred dollars to each 
volunteer for three years' service, when mustered in and 
credited to the quota of the town, the number not to exceed 
twenty. On August 28, 1862, the town voted to pay a bounty 
of one hundred and twenty-five dollars to each voltinteer for 
nine months' service, and about one month later this amount 
was increased to two htindred dollars. On July 28, 1864, the 
treasurer was authorized to borrow, not exceeding eight thou- 
sand dollars, "to be called a recruiting fund," and to be used to 
procure men to fill the quota of the town under the recent call 
of the President for more men. It having been reported that 
some of the men who had enlisted from Wilbraham had been 
credited to other towns. Porter Cross and Sumner Smith were 
chosen "to investigate the matter at Boston," and have the 
rolls there corrected. 

The History of Wilbkaham 241 

At a meeting held January 16th, 1865, the following resolu- 
tion was passed: 

"Resolved, That a vote of thanks be tendered to General 
B. F. Butler for his services in the United States military 
department during the present civil war." 

The injustice of paying bounties to the soldiers who enlisted 
in the second, third, or fovuth years of the war, and not paying 
anything .to those who enlisted during the first year, has been 
considered for a long time, until the legislature of 1912 passed 
"An Act to provide for suitably rewarding certain veteran 
soldiers and sailors." Chapter 702, Acts of 1912: "For the 
purpose of promoting the spirit of loyalty and patriotism, and 
in recognition of the sacrifice made both for the commonwealth 
and for the United States by those veteran soldiers and sailors 
who volunteered their services in the civil war a gra- 
tuity of one hundred and twenty-five dollars to each veteran 
(then living), is hereby authorized to be paid from the treasury 
of the commonwealth. (To those not having received any 
bounty from the state or any town, and not being intended as 

an equalization of bounty) but a testimonial for 

meritorious service, such as the commonwealth may rightly 
give, and such as her sons may honorably accept and receive." 
So far as I have learned, there are only two veteran soldiers of 
Wilbraham now living, who are entitled to this gratuity, James 
S. Morgan, and 

The war ended in the summer of 1865, and the flags which 
the different regiments had borne in that conflict, some of them 
in' many battles, were returned to the custody of the state on 
December 22, 1865. 

"The Adjutant General of Massachusetts, in his report for 
that year, addressed to the Governor, says: 'The most inter- 
esting State military ceremony at the close of the war, was the 
reception, by your .Excellency, of the colors of the different 
regiments and batteries at the State House, on the 22nd of 
December, the two hundred and forty-fifth anniversary of the 
landing of the 'Pilgrim Fathers,' at Plymouth. It was a 

The Histobt of Wilbraham 

ceremony which can never be repeated, and will forever form 
an interesting part of the written and performed history of the 
war.' Nearly every Massachusetts regiment was represented 
in the column of veterans which bore the battle flags to the 
State House. The head of the procession reached the Capitol 
about one o-clock. As the regiments arrived, the color-bearers 
deployed upon the steps in front of the edifice, while the re- 
mainder gathered in the yards on either side. A prayer was 
offered; then Major General Darius N. Couch, the ranking 
officer of volunteers in Massachusetts, addressed Governor 
Andrew (in part) as follows: 

" 'May it please your Excellency: We have come here 
to-day as the representatives of the army of volunteers fur- 
nished by Massachusetts for the suppression of the rebellion, 
bringing these colors in order to return them to the State who 
intrusted them to our keeping. You must, however, pardon us 
if we give them up with profound regret. — It is, sir, a peculiar 
satisfaction and pleasure to us that you — ^who have been identi- 
fied with every organization before you, are now here to receive 
back as the State custodian of her precious relics, these emblems 
of the devotion of her sons. May it please your Excellency, the 
colors of the Massachusetts Volunteers are returned to the 
State. ' Gov. Andrew replied in the following brief but beautiful 
and eloquent address : ' General : This pageant, so full of pathos 
and of glory, forms the concluding scene in the long series of 
visible actions and events, in which Massachusetts has borne a 
part, for the overthrow of rebellion and the vindication of the 
Union. These banners return to the Government of the Com- 
monwealth through welcome hands. Borne, one by one, out of 
this Capitol, during more than four years of civil war, as the 
sjnubols of the Nation and the Commonwealth, under which 
the battalions of Massachusetts departed to the field — they 
come back again, borne hither by surviving representatives of 
the same heroic regiments and companies to which they were 
intrusted. . . . Proud memories of many a field; sweet 
memories alike of valor and friendship; sad memories of fra- 
ternal strife; tender memories of otu: fallen brothers and sons, 
whose dying eyes looked last upon their flaming folds; grand 
memories of heroic virtues sublimed by grief ; exultant memories 
of the great and final Victory of our Country, our Union and 
the Righteous Cause; thankful memories of a deliverance 
wrought out for Human Nature itself, unexampled by any 
former achievement of arms; immortal memories with im- 
mortal honors blended, twine around these staves, weave them- 

The History of Wilbraham • 243 

selves along the warp and woof of these familiar flags, war- 
worn, begrimmed and baptized with blood. . . . General: I 
accept these relics in behalf of the people and the Government. 
They will be preserved and cherished, amid all the vicissitudes 
of the future, as mementoes of brave men and noble actions' 
.... The immense throng then dispersed, and the colors 
were placed in the Doric Hall of the State House." 

The Adjutant General concludes his report of that occasion 
as follows : 

"As a fitting finale to this grand pageant, I place on record 
the noble lyric addressed to your Excellency by a gentleman 
who has borne a brave and noble part in this great war; — one 
who, when the war begtm, was chief of your personal staff, and 
who afterwards resigned that position and went to the war as 
Lieutenant-Colonel of the First Regiment Massachusetts 
Cavalry, afterwards promoted to Colonel, and who, wounded 
and broken in health, came home after three years active 
military service, with the stars of a Brigadier General upon his 
shoulders, earned by meritorious conduct and conspicuous 
gallantry. . . . Severe domestic affliction prevented Briga- 
dier-General Sargent from appearing in the procession. He 
saw it from his window pass along. The sight filled his heart, 
and he wrote this lyric: — " 

(I, personally, take a particular pride in this lyric, because. 
The First Massachusetts Cavalry, was my regiment. I copy 
a part.) 


"Hark to the fife and drum! 
Look at them ! How they come ! 
Horse and foot, how they come ! 
All of them? No! for some — 
Some of the best of them — 
Azrael tested them — 
Did not come back. 

Where are the rest of them, 
Some of the youngest. 
And bravest, and best of them? 
Ask parlor strategists. 
Wont to make jest of them ! 
Azrael, Azrael, Azrael tested them. 

244 The History of Wilbhaham 

"Here comes my regiment, — 
God ! what a skeleton ! 
Hardly a peloton 
Of the battalions 
That went from the land! 

Hush ! Look at the flanks of them ! 
See those dim ranks of them ! 
Violet banks of them ! 
All the command! 
As it loomed in the old time 
From fog of Sea Islands 
And black whirlwinds of sand. 

"Ah I That fierce gathering ! 
Quivering! Quivering! 
Qoud rack, all feathery, 
Against the wind shivering ! 
Sabres bend trembling. 
In hands of the dead ! 
Like fog meeting headland, 
These spectres from Deadland, 
These ghosts of the red-hand. 
From over the Border, 
Break ranks in disorder. 
And melt against shadows 
Of sunlight and shade. 

"The startled air quivers; 
The pageant has fled. 
Their presence but seeming ! 
The soldiers are dreaming. 
In the graves where they lie, 
That they rise from the dead. 
Where guidons are streaming. 
Where trumpets are screaming. 
And cannon's flash gleaming. 
And sabre points beaming. 
The soldiers are dreaming 
The dreams of the dead. 
All their effort is seeming. 
All voiceless their screaming; 
In uneasy graves dreaming 
Nightmares of the Dead. 

The History of Wilbraham 245 

"Soldiers! in tattered rags, 
Tom as yottr shattered flags, 
Under your battle rags, 
Glorious blood-spattered flags, 
Sheltered to-day. 

As you march up the hill, 
Men feel their eyelids fill, — 
Women's warm pulses thrill. 
As the ghosts mute and still. 
Breathe on them icy chill ; 
And the guns thunder, till 
All fades away. 
Till the century's pageant 
Has faded away." 

"Boston, Forefather's Day, December 22, 1865." 

In these days of peace, when it is my privilege, as it some- 
times has been, to pass with uncovered head, through that 
beautiful Doric Hall in ovir noble State House which adorns 
Beacon Hill, and. view those battle-worn banners of the Massa- 
chusetts organizations which nobly did their part for the pres- 
ervation of the Union, and when I gaze again, as in those dis- 
tant days, upon the loved and cherished colors of my own 
regiment, now preserved and guarded there, there comes rush- 
ing into my memory an outline of the forms and features of the 
four different "chums," with whom I was the most intimately 
associated, as we marched, and camped, and fought during 
those more than three eventful years. Three of those " chimis " 
died in the service. Two of disease and exposure, and one was 
shot to death on the night of the 3d of Jime just fifty years and 
two weeks ago tonight, while we were carrying a despatch from 
Sulphur Springs to Warrenton, Va. One only of the four was 
permitted to return with me to our dear New England homes. 
And a few years since, in a western state, he too surrendered to 
the impact of the hurrying years. I recall how, when the hard 
day's march was ended and we had orders to "Dismount! and 
go into camp," one would take the canteens of both, and hurry 
off across the fields in search of water, sometimes half a mile 
away, while the other would gather bits of wood and dead 

246 The History of Wilbraham 

branches of trees and start a little fire and begin frjdng the salt 
pork, and when the water came, we wotild boil the coflEee in our 
tin cups, feed our horses from the oats which they had carried 
all day on their backs, and while they were eating their supper, 
we would eat ours, and then we would spread a blanket or two 
on the ground, lie down on them, cover ourselves with other 
blankets, and with our saddles for pillows, and our weapons by 
our sides, sleep through the night. There wasn't much variety 
in our food. We usually had salt pork, hard-tack, coffee for 
breakfast, coffee, salt pork, hard-tack for dinner, and hard-tack 
coffee, and salt pork for supper. Sometimes, a chicken would 
fly into our arms or — ^be secured in some other way — and then 
we would have a feast. 

One evening we had boiled a chicken in our tin cups, over our 
little camp-fire for an hour or more, until it was about half 
cooked, intending to finish the cooking while we were feeding 
and caring for our horses in the morning. About eleven o'clock 
the bugle rang out the call, "Boots and saddles," and the 
Orderly Sergeant came running along among the sleeping men, 
crying, ' ' Saddle up ! mount up ! everybody ! everything ! ' ' While 
sitting on our horses, waiting for the order to "Fall in!" we 
devoured that half-cooked fowl. It was pretty tough, but it 
was tougher to lose it. After some minutes' waiting, the order 
came, "Dismount, unsaddle, and go into camp." We did not 
have any chicken next morning for breakfast. 

On a May morning in 1863, my company was on the skirmish 
line charging through the town of Culpeper, Va., driving the 
enemy before us as fast as their horses could gallop, and occa- 
sionally getting a shot at some of the fleeing foe. When we 
were about through the village the bugle sounded the order 
"Halt." We tinderstood that the order meant that we were 
getting too far in advance of the rest of our forces, and might 
have to wait a half hour or so for them to come up. It so 
happened that a comrade and myself were in the main street 
and halted directly in front of a neat cottage- by the side of the 
road. While we were keeping a close lookout for the enemy 
down the road, we were soon aware that someone was watching 

The Histoby of Wilbraham 247 

us through the windows from the inside of the house, and 
presently the door slowly opened and a girl, about our own age, 
came careftdly out. We had scarcely seen a girl for almost two 
years, and oh! she looked good to us home-hungry boys. I 
suppose her investigation through the window had convinced 
her that we boys did not look very dangerous, especially to a 
girl. We soon got into conversation, which quickly drifted to 
the war and its probable results, and my comrade remarked, 
"That it seemed a pity for the South to waste so many lives 
and so much effort in a contest in which they were almost cer- 
tain to be defeated in the end." And the young woman 
answered in words that I have always remembered, "Oh!" 
she said, "To me the cause of the South looks as bright as the 
sun." That bright, impulsive girl, filled with love and enthu- 
siasm and zeal, as she stood there that May morning, has been 
a bright spot in my memory for more than fifty years. 

For the two dreadful years following, she was compelled to 
watch the bright sun of her hope slowly descending, until it 
finally set in total darkness and the welcome night of rest from 
sectional strife brooded lovingly over the land. And oh ! I hope 
she has lived to see the dawning of this better day, when 
"Yank," and "Johnny Reb," shake each other's hands in true 
brotherly affection, and we are all glad that we are now members 
of one prosperous and united country; something which could 
never have been, if her dream had come true. Fifty years ago 
last night, in company with the rest of my regiment, and other 
regiments of our brigade, we camped on the field where, nearly 
a year previous, the second battle of Bull Run had been fought. 
We slept on the ground, with our horses fastened to our wrists, 
as we did on many nights, when there was no other means of 
securing them. Next morning, after breakfast, (with the 
details of which you are already familiar) we moved off in a 
northwesterly direction towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

It was just fifty years ago this very day, and was to be the 
most trying day in the history of the First . Massachusetts 
Cavalry, during our more than three years of war. After 
marching some fifteen or twenty miles we encountered the 

248 The Histoey of Wilbhaham 

enemy just beyond the village of Aldie, about mid-aftemoon. 
The 2nd New York Cavalry was in the advance, and com- 
menced the engagement. General Kilpatrick, who commanded 
our brigade, rode in front of our regiment and said, pointing to 
some hills in front, "1st Massachusetts I want you and the 
2nd New York to gain those hills." I shall not attempt to give 
a detailed history of the battle, only of the results. We went 
in on the right and not finding the enemy very strong at first 
drove them nearly a mile, when we came against three regi- 
ments of Virginia Cavalry who charged us in earnest. A regi- 
ment sent to our assistance failed to arrive and we were scattered 
and overwhelmed. About fifty or sixty of our regiment, all that 
were left there, sprang from our horses, and with our carbines, 
partly sheltered by a stone wall, held the hills we had been 
ordered to gain. While the bullets were whistling through the 
air, General Kilpatrick rode clear up to our position and taking 
off his hat said to us, " Men of the 1st Massachusetts, you have 
done all your duty, but I must ask you to do something more. 
If you will hold this ground fifteen minutes longer I will have 
the 1st Maine here to relieve you." 

After such an address, at such a time, soldiers, worthy of the 
name, would hold their ground if they knew that a thousand 
bullets would whistle through their worthless bodies. 

At such supreme moments, the cheek may blanch and the 
knees tremble, but the immortal soul of man, rising on the 
mountain tops of inspiration, commands its quaking tenement 
to do its will. We held that ground until relieved. Near the 
close of the day, when all of the scattered ones were gathered 
in, out of the 294 who went into that fight, only 96 answered 
the roll-call. 30 were killed, 66 wounded, and 102 were prison- 
ers, on their way to the prison pens of the South. 

At this time the entire Army of the Potomac was on the 
march northward, towards Gettysburg. On the evening of 
July 1st we went into camp about twenty or thirty miles south- 

The History of Wilbraham 249 

easterly of that now famous town. We had hardly stretched 
ourselves upon the ground to sleep, when the bugle rang out 
the call, "Boots and Saddles," and we mounted our horses and 
marched away, until about one or two o'clock in the morning, 
when we again went into camp in an open field. There were a 
lot of cobblestones on the ground, and I began to clear them 
away from the spot where my chum and I must make our bed. 
We were all tired, and he said, "Oh! never mind about those 
stones, let's get to sleep." 

He had been married in the early summer of 1862, and life 
with him was one glad sweet song in his happy home in Ash- 
field, Mass. But, the call of his country in distress, came 
sounding across the states .from the far south-land, saying to 
him, "Come ! Come ! Come, ! " and, he heard the call, and tore 
himself away from that atmosphere of love and luxury, and 
was plunged into the hard discipline and privations of life in 
camp, and the awful excitement of battle. The next morning, 
July 2nd, 1863, while we were preparing our breakfast of "hard- 
tack," etc., I thought he was more quiet than usual, and look- 
ing at him closely, I saw there were tears on his cheeks and 
asked him what was the matter. He answered that he had been 
thinking about what we were to have for breakfast, and it 
made him homesick. 

I did not know it then, but I learned later, that that morning, 
while we were preparing our frugal meal out there in that 
barren pasture, there was a baby boy in his home at Ashfield 
whom he had never seen, and would not see for more than 
another year. Oh ! when we think of the hardships the soldiers 
endured, we are apt to consider only the physical side of their 
nature, and forget that they have emotions and affections. 

I shall not attempt to give any account of that dreadful war 
between the states, and have mentioned these few incidents to 
illustrate some of the experiences of a soldier's life in active 

250 The History of Wilbraham 

Crowded with such experiences the three years of our enlist- 
ment dragged away, the day of our deliverance dawned and 
to our surprise found some of us upon the earth. The flow- 
ing waters of the James River, winding through historic Vir- 
ginia, where, in the early dawn of this great nation, the 
untutored Indian maid stayed the red man's hand, bore us on 
its swelling bosom east and northward to the sea. An occa- 
sional friendly Monitor, with never-dying fires and guns full 
loaded for an ever-raiding foe, stood sentinel along that liquid 
highway, and with sotmding whistle, which our ship answered, 
bade us Godspeed on our homeward way. Our souls exulted in 
this new freedom. The dear "North," which had lived in our 
hearts, fair as the "Promised Land?" and which many of those 
whom we had known would never see again came at last within 
our vision. On a beautiful morning in November, after more 
than three years' absence, I entered my home. My mother, 
coming down from upstairs at the sound of the opening door, 
met her boy, still under age, standing in the center of the 
kitchen floor. 

After the close of the Civil War, the town found that they 
were owing quite a large sum of money. On May 8th, 1865, it 
was "voted to raise $23,000.00 to pay the debts of the town." 
On May 31st, "Voted to rescind the above vote." "Voted to 
raise $15,000.00 for the debts." 

The total valuation of the town in 1865, was $802,774. The 
tax rate that year was $33.50 on $1,000. The total amount of 
the tax was $27,927.60. In 1868 the tax rate was $28 on 
$1,000 of valuation. And so, in those few years, the "War 
Debt" was paid, and it was much easier to do it then than 
it would have been ten or fifteen .years later, owing to the 
depreciation of the paper money in circulation at that time. 
A few years ago, there were some towns in our state that were 
still paying interest on their "War Debt," and there may be 
some now. 

The History of Wilbraham 



Made by C. M. Spencer, Hartford, Conn. One of the first made. It was carried 
through the Civil War in Company F. 1st Mass. Cavalry, as follows: 

Ist by Lieut Myron C. Pratt. Killed in a skirmish at Snickers Ferry, Va„ Nov. 3, 1862. 

2nd by Lieut Francis O Lombard of Springfield. Killed at Mine Run, Va., Nov. 27, 1863. 

3d by Sergt Bernard Newell of Greenfield. Killed at Newmarket, Va., July 28, 1864. 

4th by Chauncey E. Peck, who brought it home. The permit to do so stated that the 
carbine was private property and not a government weapon. 

The Sabre Hilt is part of a sabre taken from a Confederate prisoner, captured in a 
skirmish near Pocotaligo, S. C, May, 1862, When we got into camp, the blade was broken 
into four pieces and each of the captors had a piece. The hilt was my^ share. The separate 
pieces were wrapped in newspapers and sent home. The other pieces of the blade are 
probably in Mass. today. 

With name of Regiment, time of service, number of engage- 
ments, and if killed or died in the army. 

IsT Mass. CAVAiiBT 
Chauncey E. Feck 
Stephen Lucas, Jr. 
Henry Rood 
William R. Eggleston 

IsT Mabb. Infantry 
Sergt. Junius Beebe 
Cyrus N. Hudson 

5th Mass. Infantht 
Eugene Cady 
Willis F. Chaffee 
Charles A. Taintor 
John Truden 
Cyriel E. Scripter 

*8th Mabb. Infantry, 

100 Days. 
Eugene S. Allen 
Harlan F. Rockwood 
Eugene Pease 
Francis Pease 
Henry Wetherbee 
Robert R. Wright, Jr. 





Sep. 24, 1861 
Sep. 12, 1861 
Aug. 25, 1862 
Aug. 20, 1862 

Jan. 15, 1862 
Aug. — , 1862 

Nov. 7, 1864 
Sep. 13, 1864 
Jan. 10, 1863 
June 29, 1865 

Dec. 25, 1863 





July 12, 1864 

July 12, 1864 

July 12, 1864 

July 12, 1864 

July 12, 1864 

July 12, 1864 


After 100 days 
Also in Navy 

•"Service was ProvDst Duty at the City of Baltimore, Maryland." 


The History of Wilbkaham 





IOth Mass. Infantry. 


Sergt. George F. Holdridge 

June 21, 1861? 

June — , 1864 


Charles E. Buell 

Apr. 20, 1861 

Apr. 17, 1863 


John Fowls 

June 21, 1861? 

Oaoar J. Gilllgan 

Mar.' 18,' 1863 


Henry Gray 
Lyman E. Gray , 
Seneca I. Harris 


July 22, 1883 
July — , 1883 


'.'.'."'.'.'.". ".i 


Horace L. Jones 


jan! "7,'i863' 

Stephen Millard 
John Neff 


June 21, 1861 

May 28,' 1864' 



George Robinson 
William Smith 


May 5, 1864 




John H. BaMy 


June '3,'i864' 


J. M. Templeman 
18th Mass. Inpantby 


Henry D. Gleason 

Aug. — , 1861? 

Sergt. Gilbert Rockwood, Jr. 

Aug. 10, 1861 

'perhaps 1864? 


Charles Saunders 


21sT Mass. Infantbt. 

Corp. William H. Brackett 

Aug. — , 1881? 

June — , 1862 


Ransom S Burr 


perhaps 1864? 

27th Mass. Infantry. 

Lieut, Joseph W. Holmes 

Sep. — , 1862 

May 15, 1865 

Lieut. Cyrus W. Goodale 

Oct. — , 1881? 

Oct. 30, 1862 


Sergt. George W. Hobart 

Oct. 23, 1861 

Oct. 16, 1864 

Died in prison 

Sergt. Newton E. Kellogg 

Oct. 1, 1861 

about 1865 

Corp. James M. King 

Sep. 6, 1861 

July 20, 1866 

Corp. James E. Perry 
Corp. James S. Morgan 


Oct. 9, 1861 

Sep. '27,' 1864' 


Charles S. Bates 

Sep. 28, 1861? 

Sep. 22, 1862 


Robert B. W. Bliss 

Sep. 28, 1861 

Nov.—, 1864 

Died in prison 

Seth W. Buxton 

Oct. 13, 1861 

about 1864? 

Charles H. Bun- 


Apr. 8, 1862 


Henry Bushey 

Sept.28, 1861 

June — , 1864? 


William H. Chapin 

Sept. 28, 1861 

about 1885? 

Charles S. Clark 

Oct. 7, 1861 

about 1863? 


Albert J. Collins 

Oct. S, 1861 

Oct. 19, 1864- 

Died in prison Ga. 

James N. Dorroch 

Oct. — , 1861 

Benjamin C. Davis 

Oct. 1, 1881 

' about" i865? 

John K. Fuller 

Oct. 1, 1861 

about 1865? 


George E. Fuller 

Oct. 1, 1861 

Sept. 27 1884 

Also in U. S. service. 

Charles R. Fay 

Nov. 1, 1881 

Nov. 1, 1864 

Lucius W. Gleason 

Oct. 3, 1861 

Sept. 27, 1864 


Charles J. Glover 

Oct. 1, 1881 

Aug. 24, 1865 

Prisoner about 1 yr. 

Damon N. Haskell 

Oct. -9, 1861 

Sept. 27, 1864 


Almond Lard 

Oct. — , 1861? 

Oct. 6, 1864 

Died in prison, Ga. 

Albert C. Lucas 

Sept.28, 1861 

about 1866? 

Dennis McGowan 

Oct. 4, 1861 

about 1865? 

James Rice 

Oct. 3, 1861 

Oct. 24, 1862 


Harrison Rowe 

Sept.28, 1861 

Mar. 8, 1865 


Joseph Twihkler 

Sept. 28, 1881 

Oct. 9, 1884 


William P. Truden 

July — , 1862 

about 1865? 

Albert S. Vaughn 

Aug. 3, 1862 

Oct. — , 1862 


Charles H. Arnold 

Dec. 12, 1863 

June 5, 1865? 


Also in 46th Regt. 

Elmer Jewett 

Jan. 4, 1864 

Sept. 26, 1864 

Died in prison. 

Nelson Sheldon 

Deo. 12, 1863 

June 26, 1865 

Elias S. Keyes 

Sept. 1, 1864 




Jan. 26. 1865 


31st Mass. Infantry. 

Samuel S. Alden 


George W. Bennett 

Nov. 8, 1861 

Died at N. 0. 1862 

Russell D. Crocker 

Nov. 8, 1861 

Pelatiah Glover 




George Munsell 





John A. Pease 

Nov. 8, 1861 



John S. O'Riely 
Charles Ring 




Sextus Shields 


June 17, 1885 

The History of Wilbeaham 


The 31st Regt. was changed from Infantry to Cavalry in the 
winter of 1863-4. 

37th Mass, Infantry. 
Capt. Algernon S. Flagg 
Lieut. Jesse Prickett 
Sergt. Watson W. Bridge 
Sergt. Jolin H. Brines 
Sergt. Timothy D. Smitli 
Sergt. Francis Broolcs 
Sergt. Dwiglit H. Parsons 
Walter G. Brewer 
Horatio R. Calkins 
Cyrus W. Cross 
Sumner P. Fuller 
George Gray 
John F. Keyes 
Daniel Knowlton 
Francis P. Lemon 
Benjamin F. McCray 
Enos W. Munsell 
Addison H. Mosley 
Thomas J. Mills 
Jacob Ne£f 
Erasmus B. Pease 
Joseph A. Parker 
George Pease 
John C. Rockwood 
William A. Rice 
William Shaw 
John Speight 
James IC. Stacy 
Albert 0. Stratton 
Edward Ufford 
Albert Vaughn 
Albert B. McGregory 
Elbridge G..Vinaca 
Spencer H. Wood 

46th Mass. Infantry. 
Capt. William G. Leonard 
Sergt. William R. Sessions 
Sergt. Mortimer Pease 
Corp. Charles E. Knight 
Corp. David S. Roberts 
Corp. Eugene E. Porter 
Oscar F. Benedict 
John D. Burnap 
Lorenzo Bliss 
Samuel Chapin 
Edward W. Hitchcock 
Alburtus Langdon 
Oliver H. Langdon 
Samuel F. Merrick 
Lorenzo E. Munsell 
Jefferson Rowe 
Alonzo L. Scripter 
George W. Tupper 
Howard C. West 




2, 1862 
2, 1S62 
— , 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
5, 1864 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 

2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 
2, 1862 

Sept. 2 1862 

Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Scot. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 
Sept. 25, 1862 








July 2, 1865 


Apr. 6, 1865 

July 2, 1865 


July 2, 1865 

July 2, 1865 

Aug. 10, 1864 


Oct. 18, 1864 



Apr. — , 1864 

July 30, 1864 





Aug. 7, 1865 


June 3, 1864 



Mar. 29, 1864 





July 2, 1865 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

Feb. 16, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1865 

July 28, 1865 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 28, 1863 

July 14, 1865 

Mar. 19, 1863 

July 28, 1863 


Capt. in 54th Maas. 


General's orderly 
Died in prison 

Transferred to Navy 



Trans. Invalid Corps 



Transferred to Navy 

Trans. Invalid Corps 
Trans. Invalid Corps 


Quartermaster dept. 



The following men served about nine months in the 46th 
Infantry and then reenlisted in the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy 


The Histoet of Wilbhaham 

Artillery. The time of their first enlistment and final dis- 
charge is given. 





46th Mass. Infantry and 

2nd Heavit Ahtillery. 

Sergt. Calvin G. Robbins 

Sept. 25, 1862 

July 14, 1865 

Corp. Adin Alden ■ 

Sept. 25, 1862 

July 14, 1865 

Irving W. Burr 

Sept. 25, 1862 

Aug. — , 1864 


Marcus H. Chaffee 

Sept. 25, 1862 

July 14, 1865 

Nelson D. Crocker 

Sept. 25, 1862 

July 16, 1865 

Died in hospita 

Andrew S. Pember 

Sept. 25, 1862 

July 14, 1865 

Walter S. Pease 

Sept. 25, 1862 

July 14, 1865 

2nd Mass. Heavy 


Albert Converse 

July 7, 1863 

William P. Calkins 

July 14,1863 

Dennis Duffee 

July 14,1863 

Charles D. Jones 

July 23, 1863 

Jan. — , 1864 

Merrick Lamphere 

July 13,1863 


John Patten 

July 14,1863 


Solyman Walker 

July 13,1863 

James A. Rice 

July — , 1863 

S7th Mass. Infantry. 

George M. Alden 

Deo. 14, 1863 

Cyrus Ramsdell 

Jan. — , 1864 

Daniel J. Simonds 

Deo. 8, 1863 

May 14. 1864 

Other Regiments. 

Capt. Watson W. Bridge 

Sept. 2, 1862 

Lieut. Amos Ramsdell 

Sergt. Luther Wing 

Feb. 16,1864 

Richard Armstrong 


Orange S. Firmin 

Peter Higgins 


Chester Loomis 


Horace L. Mixter 

Charles F. Tilden 

Sept. 16, 1861 


William C. Williams 


Robert Darrah 

Edgar A. Stebbins 

Daniel J. Simonds 

Dec. 8, 1863 

May 14, 1864 

George M. Alden 

Dec. 14, 1863 

Franklin G. Patten 

Jan. 5, 1864 

John H. Williams 

Feb. 20, 1864 

George J. Jones 

Charles D. Jones 

Thomas Smith 



Horace B. Wood 


Emerson G. Brewer 


Died Oct. 24, 1864. 

Alonzo B. Noble 

Lysander Howard 

George Leonard 

William F. Darrooh? 

Seth Allen 


Total number of Wilbra- 

ham men in the army 


Others as substitutes, or 

hired to fill quota 



In V. S. Navy. 

Franklin Cobb 

John Gibbons 

Nov. 23, 1862 

And 27 others hired to fill 

the town's quota. Total 


Total number of men 



The History of Wilbraham 255 

Of this nvunber, about 15 were counted on the quota of 
other towns. 

In July, 1863, fifty-six men were drafted to fill the town's 
quota, and on May 18th, 1864, and on five other dates twenty- 
nine others were drafted; making eighty-five in all. Of this 
number, five went into the army, four sent substitutes, twenty 
paid what was called "Commutation" of $300 each, thirteen 
were exempt, being aliens, thirty-nine were exempted for 
disability, one "Run away," of one it is recorded, "No such 
man in town," of one other, there is no record; and of the last 
name on the list it is recorded "Not called for," indicating the 
dawn of that delightful day when the awful struggle between 
the states of this great nation would cease, and the Angel of 
Peace would again dwell in our land. 

There is a printed "List of persons enrolled in the Town of 
Wilbraham liable to Military Duty. Class First. Comprising 
all persons subject to do Military duty between the ages of 
Twenty and Thirty-five years, and all unmarried persons sub- 
ject to do Military duty above the age of Thirty-five years and 
under the age of Forty -five." Then follows the names of 183 
persons. But six of them are endorsed as "already in the 
army," leaving a total of 177. "Class Second. Comprising 
all Married persons subject to do Military duty above the age 
of Thirty-five." Then follows a list of the names of 98 persons, 
but one is endorsed, "already in the army," and one as "over 
age," leaving 96, which with the 177 of the First Class, makes 
273 in both classes. This "List" is signed by "H. M. More- 
house, Captain and Provost Marshal 10th District Mass. 
Nov. 25th 1863." 

There is also a printed list, not dated, called, "New Enroll- 
ment," as follows: "Names of Men Enrolled in the Town of 
Wilbraham" which contains the names of 140, subject to 
military duty. 

"The Rebellion Records'' in the town clerk's office are 
very incomplete in many details. They show that six Wilbra- 
ham men were killed in battle, and that twenty-three others 
died in the service. Probably there were more. The records 

256 The History of Wilbbaham 

give a list of the battles in which a few of the men took part. 
When the soldiers returned from the war, the town clerk 
asked some, perhaps all of them, to furnish him such a list. 
He asked me, and I did so, and they are recorded. But 
probably many of the others did not, and so there is no record 
of them. But I think that most of the men in the earlier, 
three-years regiments, up to and including the 37th, were in 
many of the great battles of the war. 

The following song illustrates the spirit of the time. 
10th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers 
By Mary J. Melvin 
Air — " Wait for the. Wagon." 

Now, friends, if you will listen, 

A few words I'll relate, 
Concerning our brave Volunteers 

From Massachusetts state. 
The subject I shall dwell upon 

As quickly you will see, 
Is all about the Orchard Boys, 
Who belong to Company E. 

Chorus — Hurrah for Captain Barton, 
Hurrah for Captain Barton, 
Hurrah for Captain Barton 
And the boys of Company E. 

Their young and noble Captain 

Frederick Barton is by name, 
And in the town of Springfield 

He drilled his brave young men; 
And there he made them take the oath 

That they should all agree. 
To defend our glorious Union 

Brave boys of Company E. 

Hurrah for Captain Barton, etc. 

On Hampden Park he kept them 

Sixteen weeks or more, 
And now they are in Washington 

Their absence we deplore; 

The Histoet of Wilbeaham 257 

But still we will not murmur 

For our Flag it must float Free! 
And this they will accomplish, 

The brave boys of Company E. 

Hurrah for Captain Barton, etc. 

Although they call them "Barton's Roughs," 

Still, their Captain likes them well, 
And tells them when they meet the rebels, 

"Boys, do your duty well!" 
And when we find old Beauregard 

We'll pin him to a tree, 
And hang Jeff. Davis on a limb 

Us boys of Company E. 

Hurrah for Captain Barton, etc. 

And when we get the Union, 

We'll shout our loud Hurrahs, 
To think we have been fighting 

For the glorious Stripes and Stars; 
And still we'll be united. 

And firmly all agree. 
To return to Indian Orchard, 

The boys of Company E. 

Hurrah for Captain Barton, etc. 

Indian Orchard, Oct. 21, 1861. 

When the war was ended, and the soldiers who had survived 
the terrible conflicts had returned to their homes, to resume the 
occupations which the war had interrupted. Dr. Stebbins 
Foskit, a physician who had lived his life among us in the noble 
effort to relieve the ills of men, conceived the idea of erecting a 
momunent which should preserve their memory to future . 
generations. He was not permitted to see his desire erected in 
enduring granite. But his widow, Mrs. Lucia S. Foskit, who is 
still with us, in full sympathy with his plan, carried the idea 
to a successftd and appropriate consumftiation. The monu- 
ment was dedicated on July 4th, 1894, by E. K. Wilcox Post 
G. A. R. of Springfield, W. P. Derby Commander, and the 
address was made by our honored Pastor, Rev. Martin S. 
Howard ; after which a free collation was served to about three 
htmdred persons in the Congregational Church Chapel. 


The Histoby of Wilbhaham 




^ 2? 








m. .1 





The following is the inscription : 










1861 1865 





The History of Wilbraham 269 

The names of all the soldiers, who were residents of Wilbra- 
ham, so far as could be ascertained, are engraved on the three 

The montmient, above the foimdation, cost $2500. The 
expense of putting in the foundation was paid by the veteran 

The "Crane Park," where the monument stands, was the 
birthplace and early home of Lucinda Brewer, who married 
Zenas Crane, the original paper manufacturer of Dalton, in 
1809. She was the grandmother of our honored guest, Ex- 
Governor, and now Ex-Senator, W. Murray Crane, who has 
graced this occasion with his presence, and we appreciate his 
kindness. The park where the monument stands is practically 
the exact center of the town. Within recent years, I have 
heard the question asked, "Who wrote the inscription on the 
monimient?" As the matter may come up again, I will say, 
Mrs. Foskit invited several persons to present an inscription 
for it, and she selected the one that I prepared. It is not copied 
from, but is something like the one on the Soldiers' Monument 
on Boston Common. 


Q ° 

Q £ 



The Histoby of Wilbkaham 261 




The following account is copied from the Springfield Repub- 
lican of October fifth, 1869. 

"The great storm of the 3rd and 4th of October, 1869, will 
long be memorable. Beginning before daylight on Sunday, it 
rained in torrents through that day and night, and not till the 
middle of Monday afternoon was there any cessation. During 
much of this time the water fell, as it were in sheets, instead of 
drops, and a more powerful storm would seem almost impossible. 
The weather records of the last quarter century have been 
searched in vain to find its parallel. 

"The rain gauge of the United States armory in this city, 
showed that from 2 o'clock, Sunday morning till 7 o'clock, 
Monday morning, a period of twenty-nine hours, four inches of 
water fell, or an amount equal to the average monthly rain fall. 
In the tremendous rain of Monday morning (from 7 a.m. till 
1 p.m.) 3.34 inches more of water came, and about three- 
quarters of an inch more (.71) before the sun broke through the 
clouds, shortly after 3 o'clock. Thus the total fall of water 
during the storm, from Sunday morning till Monday afternoon, 
reached the extraordinary and wholly unprecedented amount 
of 8.05 inches. Mr. Weatherhead has kept a record since June 
1, 1847, and the greatest quantity of rain in any storm, during 
that time, was June 12 and 13, 1858 when 4.35 inches fell and 
the militia encamped on the island opposite the city was 
drowned out. The average quantity per month for the past 
22 years has been about 3.75 inches; thus in 37 hours we 
received the amount due for two months. 

"We had no trains at all from Albany yesterday, but trains 
ran as usual between this city and Boston until noon. The 
afternoon express train for the east left at a quarter before 2, 
expecting to make its customary trip to Boston, but was stopped 
at Wilbraham, where information was given of a bad break in 
the road, half a mile beyond the depot. A brook, which is 
usually, insignificant, was swollen by the rain to a mighty flood, 
and throwing off the slight restraint imposed upon it by the 
culvert through which it usually flows, tore up the track for a 
distance of 200 feet, and giallied out a chasm in some places 50 
feet deep. Conductor Whitney accordingly ran his train back 
to this city. Last evening a construction train with several big 

262 The History of Wilbraham 

head lights for illiimination was run out to the break, to see 
what could be done to fill up the chasm. There are reports of 
other serious damage to the railroad near Palmer. No through 
trains were started from Boston, Springfield or Albany- 
after the extent of the damage, east or west had been ascer- 

Further account given by the Republican Friday October 8th. 

"The first train for Boston from this city, since Monday 
morning, left at 2.30, yesterday afternoon, and was composed of 
thirteen cars, conveying probably not less than 700 passengers. 
At North Wilbraham, omnibuses were in readiness to transfer 
the passengers overland beyond the great break, carrying them 
around about a mile to Butler's crossing. By far the larger part 
of the passengers, however, preferred to walk, and also to take 
the worst and nearest way, directly up the track to the great 
chasm, instead of following the highway. 

The crossing of the brook, down the steep, shifting side of the 
embankment across the smaller brook at the .bottom, which is 
almost a river, on single planks and sticks of timber and up the 
equally steep eastern bank, was successfully accomplished, and 
with skill worthy Alpine travelers. 

"Men, women, children, babies and birds, besides innu- 
merable bags and bundles, were carried safely over, and soon 
the whole party of hundreds were enjoying and diverting them- 
selves on the green fields around Butler's. The first hour or 
two passed very pleasantly in grand picnic fashion, but after 
sunset the "chilly night air made fires indispensable and they 
were not much sooner needed than provided. The farmer's 
fences were pressed into the service for the public good, and 
soon three mighty pyres were blazing, illuminating the heavens 
and comforting and cheering the weary passengers. 

"For all this while they were waiting for the arrival of the 
train which left Boston at 3 p.m., and which was to transport 
them eastward on its return, and when that long train of four- 
teen cars and two engines did drive up, at 8 o'clock p.m., 
perhaps it was'nt received with cheers on cheers ! 

"There never was a more joyous meeting of strangers; 
the westward bound passengers were quickly loaded into the 
omnibuses; the eastward gladly entered the cars; and the 
parting was no less pleasurable than the meeting. 

"The work of transferring the baggage to the train for this 
city occupied over three hours, and it was just 12, midnight, 











The Histoey of Wilbraham 

when the iirst train from Boston since Monday noon arrived 
in Springfield. 

"The work on the trestle bridge, spanning the departed 
embankment, is progressing very rapidly, and trains will 
probably cross it, today. Coimection was made, last night, and 
foot passengers came over safely. The route thence to Palmer 
is only passable, and the north track is only used. Beyond 
Palmer to West Brookfield both tracks are made to do service 
alternately, neither being entirely sound. The seven freight 
trains which were stopped by the flood, between Warren and 
Brimfield, all arrived at Palmer, Wednesday afternoon, and 
are now waiting a chance to come further west." 

Additional Reports October 9th. 

"The reconstructionists who have been building the trestle 
work at the Wilbraham break, completed the structure, yester- 
day afternoon at half-past-12 o'clock, sufficiently to permit the 
passage of trains. An engine and platform were run across to 
test it, just as Conductor Whitney's train hove in sight from 
Boston. The train passed over safely, and arrived in this city 
only about an hour later. Trains are now running both east . 
and west, with few if any delays." 


The following items from a History of Massachusetts pub- 
lished in 1839, may be of interest: 

" Population in 1837, 1,802. 

"There were 457 Saxony, 1054 merino, and 781 other kinds of 

sheep. Value of wool produced 13,668.62. 
"Capital invested 135,460. 

"Value of boots and shoes manufactured $8,498.75. 
"Value of straw bonnets and straw braid manufactured $2,000. 
"Palm leaf hats manufactured 7,145 valued at $1,000.30. 
"4 churches in the town, 2 Congregational and 2 Methodist. 
"In 1837 the Academy had upwards of 300 pupils, 190 males, 

114 females." 

Part of the following items are copied from the Stebbins 
History : 

"The first woolen mill in Wilbraham was built by Sumner 
Sessions, in the South Parish, on a mill-stream called Scantic 

The History of Wilbraham 265 

in 1845. It was rented and operations commenced by Levi 
Bradford and Eleazer Scripter; in April 1846, with one set of 
machinery for the manufacture of satinet. In 1847 there was a 
change in the firm, more machinery added, and increase of 
power obtained by the purchase of the carding machine privilege 
on the same stream. The manufacture of satinets, tweeds, 
cassimeres, and doeskins was carried on by this company until 
1856 when a new company was formed with a capital of twenty 
thousand dollars called 'The South Wilbraham Manufacturing 
Company.' E. Scripter acted as agent and treasurer until 1860 
when William V. Sessions was appointed in his place. In 1862 
a large addition to the mill was built and another set of ma- 
chinery added. 

"Below the 'South Wilbraham Co.' the "Ravine Manufac- 
turing Co." started in 1856 making two thousand yards of 
doeskins a week. Two factories on Eleven Mile Brook made 
low grade satinet about three thousand yards a week." 

All of these mills are now out of commission, and most of the 
buildings have been destroyed. About 1790, an attempt was 
made by Capt. Joel Pease to erect a mill about 80 or 100 rods 
north of the Tinkham road, and about the same distance west 
of West Street, on Pole Bridge Brook, on the farm formerly 
owned by Roswell Phelps, and now owned by Mrs. O'Leary, 
and a dam was constructed; but the country was so flat that 
the overflow of the pond was very objectionable and the project 
was given up. In 1764 the town gave Caleb Stebbins of Wil- 
braham and Joseph Miller of Ludlow a deed of four acres of the 
Ministry lot on Eleven Mile Brook as a site for a grist mill. 
And in 1803, a carding machine was placed in a building erected 
by Jonathan Kilbom, on the same brook, near Stebbins Mill. 

The large amount of wood burned by the early inhabitants 
gave an overplus of ashes, and William King manufactured 
potashes in the south village near the old meeting house, and 
Paul Langdon by the Potash Hill. I have learned from old 
deeds, that there was a potash works on the north side of the 
road leading up the mountain from the stone church, probably 
near the small brook which crosses the road. Thomas and 
Henry Howard erected a tannery at an early day on the north 
side of Springfield Street, by the brook near the place where 

The History of Wilbbaham 

Calvin Brewer lived for many years, now owned by George N. 
Chase. Abraham Avery had one, probably near where Mr. 
O. L. Millard now lives. 

North Wilbraham, was incorporated in 1872 as the Collins 
Paper Company. The name was changed in 1876, and the 
capital increased to $300,000. The company, with some 
changes in stock ownership and business control, has since been 
in active operation,, and its works comprise one of the principal 
industrial enterprises of eastern Hampden County. The plant 
now forms a part of the Whiting system of paper interests, and 
has been the largest factor in the growth and development of 
the northern part of our town. 

The grain and milling business now conducted by the 
CUTLER COMPANY, also at North Wilbraham, was estab- 
ished at Ashland, Mass., in 1844, by Henry Cutler, where it 
utilized the water power of the Sudbury River, and was one of 
the first concerns in New England to grind western com. In 
1877 the city of Boston took that river as part of its water 
supply, and the business was transferred to our town, Mr. 
Cutler being attracted here by favorable railroad facilities and 
■available water power. 

The business has grown from year to year, necessitating the 
building of several storehouses and the addition of new equip- 
ment. The average daily shipments being about eight carloads 
of grain and feed. The making of milling machinery is also 
carried on to a considerable extent, and from the North Wil- 
braham office of The Cutler Company are managed several 
retail grain stores in other places in New England. Like the 
Collins Paper Company, the Cutler Company has contributed 
much to the growth and prosperity of our town. 

cated in Ludlow near the northwest comer of our town, have 
contributed largely to the growth of the town in that section. 
A manufactoiy was first established there about 1815, and on 
December 31, 1821, was organized as the Springfield Manufac- 
turing Company, and a stone building was erected at the north 





The History of Wilbkaham 

end of the bridge, and a little west of the road, on the north 
side of the Chicopee River. The bridge was formerly called 
"Put's Bridge," in honor of the builder, Eli Putnam. A grist 
mill was conducted in the northeast comer of the stone mill, 
and a sawmill was operated on the south side of the river, in 
our town, for a good many years. I have tak^n grain to the 
grist mill and logs to the sawmill. In 1848 the company failed, 
and the business was conducted by Wood & Merritt until 
1856, when the business was merged into the first Ludlow 
Manufacturing Company. In developing the village of Lud- 
low, the directors found that they were acting beyond the 
powers granted them as a manufacturing corporation. Which 
was one of the reasons for changing the form of organization to 
that of The Ludlow Manufacturing Associates. 

In December, 1891, the company purchased a mill site just 
above "Red Bridge," and in 1900 commenced work on the 
present dam at that point. The power is conducted to the 
mills by electrical transmission. In 1905, a bridge was built 
across the Chicopee River near "Moran's Crossing," and 
tracks were laid so as to give the company a direct freight con- 
nection with the main line of the Boston & Albany Railroad. 
In recent years, a large number of dwelling houses have been 
erected in that part of our town, by the company, which, with 
the plant at Red Bridge, have added much to our valuation, 
as well as to our population. 

In the year 1900, the old covered structure which had done 
duty at "Red Bridge" since about 1838, was removed, and the 
present iron bridge was erected. 


The raising of tobacco was considerable of an industry from 
about 1850, to about 1880, especially along West Street. And 
many of the farmers set out from one to five acres, with quite 
satisfactory results. 

The crop was usually sold to dealers in Hartford and vicinity, 
who would come and inspect the crops at, or near stripping 

The History of Wilbraham 269 

time, in the late autumn, and arrange with each grower for the 
purchase of his crop, to be delivered at the place of business of 
the dealer. And, at that time of the year, it was no uncommon 
sight to see two or three two-horse loads of the product, wend- 
ing their way in company, towards the place of delivery. 

I remember to have once gone in such a train, either to 
Warehouse Point or Windsor Locks. The general color of the 
tobacco grown here was quite dark, and in time the demand 
was for a lighter shade, for wrappers for cigars, and as our 
fields did not produce that shade, the demand gradually fell 
off, until the production of .it entirely ceased. 

About the year 1866, a cheese factory was erected on the 
south side of Springfield Street, a few rods east of the first 
branch of Pole Bridge Brook, where it crosses that street, on 
land then owned by Edwin B. Brewer, now owned by Mrs. 
F. A. Gumey. 

The business was carried on for a few years, furnishing a 
market for a large amount of milk from the surrounding ter- 
ritory. But the business was not profitable, and was abandoned 
after a few years, and the building burned some years later. 
A cheese factory was also started at North Wilbraham a few 
years later than the other, with about the same result, as far 
as the business part was concerned. A building standing on 
the same site is now occupied by the general store of F. A. 
Fuller. The upper part of the building was used as a public 
hall until about 1890. 

After the failure of the cheese manufacturing industry, an 
increasing amount of milk was furnished to the "Springfield 
Milk Association" for ten or fifteen years, until about twelve 
hundred quarts were taken daily, mostly from West Street. 
The number of cows in town increased from 475 in 1881 to 654 
in 1890. Since then the number has gradually decreased" until 
the town report for the year ending March 15th, 1913, shows 
but 398. Some milk is still furnished to the Springfield market, 
and the demand from our own villages is supplied from local 

The business of raising sheep, and the production of wool. 

270 The Histort of Wilbkaham 

has had wide fluctuations. In the year 1771, there were 704 
sheep in town; in 1838, 2292; in 1881, 86; in 1891, 7; in 1901, 
9; in 1911, 7; and in 1912 none. Some other lines of business 
show more encouraging results. 


The development of the peach industry, in recent years, has 
been of great benefit to the agricultural interests of our town. 

The land lying along the western slope of our mountain range 
seems to be peculiarly adapted to the production of that 
luscious and beautiful fruit. And npw about twenty persons in 
this town, as well as several in Hampden, have orchards of from 
several hundred to several thousand trees, and "Wilbraham 
Peaches" are not only known all over New England, but in 
other parts of our country, as having the best color and finest 
fiavor of g,ny peaches sent to market, and commission merchants 
assure our growers that there is no danger of over-production, 
because the excellence of the fruit wins a place for it in any 
market. Probably the largest crop produced in any one year, 
so far, was in 1911, when about thirty or forty thousand baskets 
were sold. Of course, this amount does not compare with the 
much larger crops gathered in the states further to the south, 
but it is a very respectable beginning for our town, which we 
expect will be increased in the years to come. In that year, 
1911, I think Lee W. Rice had the largest crop, amounting to 
9,600 baskets. Among the other growers who raised good 
crops that year may be mentioned, beginning at the south, 
E. Bliss & Son, James Powers, J. J. Lyons, J. L. Rice, J. W. 
Rice, C. P. Bolles, C. C. B.eebe, D. H. Eaton, M. C.Wade, 
W. H. McGuire, and others who 'raised smaller crops. An 
account of the beginnings of this industry may be of interest 
today? and will be of especial interest in the future, if the busi- 
ness is continued. 

In the year 1876, Albert Bliss and his son Ethelbert, set out 
one hundred peach trees, on the farm made famous by the 
tragedy of 1761, and the fourth year afterwards had one good 
crop of fruit. The land was then seeded to grass with the 


And bam of Ethelbert Bliss. 


The History of Wilbkaham 

result that there was an excellent crop of grass, but the peach 
trees soon died. 

About the year 1882, William R. Sessions set out two hun- 
dred or more peach trees, on his farm, about half a mile south 
of the farm of Mr. Bliss, and in 1886 had a profitable crop of 
peaches. In the autumn of that year, he sowed the land with 
grass seed and the trees soon wasted away. 

Mr. Ethelbert Bliss was not discouraged, but gave a good 
deal of thought and study to the subject, and became con- 
vinced that with proper care the growing of peaches could be 
made a financial success here in Wilbraham, as well as in some 
other parts of New England. In the spring of 1894, he set out 
1,400 peach trees and in the autimm of 1897 he gathered over 
1,000 baskets of choice peaches, and in 1898, 2,500 baskets, and 
the next year 4,500 baskets. He continued to set out trees 
until he soon had about twenty-five acres of peach orchards. 

So the commercial peach industry of Wilbraham dates from 
the setting out of the 1,400 trees in 1894. Beautiful and well- 
cared for orchards may now be seen in many parts of our town, 
and many rocky pastures and neglected fields have become 
beauty spots, producing a substantial revenue. We hope the 
good work may be continued. 

The following table gives the valuation of the Town of Wil- 
braham, and of some of the manufacturing industries, showing 
the increase in thirty years. , % '- 

Collins Paper Co. 
Cutler Co. 
Ludlow Mfg. Co. 
Wilbraham Woolen Co. 

























The factory of the Wilbraham Woolen Co. was destroyed 
May 14th, 1893. The loss to the valuation of the town was 

The History of Wilbbaham 273 

I find the following items, of interest to us, in a copy of 





"Every letter composed of a single sheet of paper, conveyed 
not above 40 miles, 8 cents; over 40 miles, and not exceeding 
90 miles, 10 cents; over 90 miles, and not exceeding 150 miles, 
123^ cents; over 150 miles, and not exceeding 300 miles, 17 
cents; over 300 miles, and not exceeding 500 miles, 20 cents; 
over 500 miles, 25 cents. 

"Every letter composed of two pieces of paper, double those 
rates. Every letter composed of three pieces of paper, triple 
those rates. Every letter composed of four pieces of paper, 
weighing one ounce, quadruple those rates; and at the rate of 
four single letters for each ounce any letter or packet may weigh. 

"Justices of the Peace in Wilbraham in 1814. Abel Bliss, Jr. 
Robert Sessions. Samuel F. Merrick Augustus Sisson Walter 

"Churches and Ministers in Wilbraham in 1814. Moses 
Warreil. Cong. Ezra Witter. Cong. Ezekiel Terry. Bapt. 

"List of Towns on Old Road from Worcester to Hartford, 
with names of Innkeepers in 1814. 





















(now Warren) 



I copy a few items from the record kept by Samuel Warner, 
the precinct "Clark," as he was called; The first entry was 

274 The Histohy of Wilbhaham 

made "March y^ IS"" 1734," the last "Aug. 28, 1783." For 
forty-nine years and five months the faithful "dark" per- 
formed his labor of love, and twelve days after the last entry, 
he laid down his pen forever. 

In all 1131 births and 311 deaths are recorded. 

"Comfort Warner, the daughter of Daniel and Jerushe 
Warner was the first child bom in the precinct, year 1734. 
She Dyed in 1757. 

No. 240: "Thomas Glover dyed December SO"- 1745, in the 
SB"" year of his age. a bachilDor, Never was Married. 

No. 123: "Charles Brewer, the son of Isaac and Mary 
Brewer, was bom Dec. y* 18* 1748. The first that was Bap- 
tized in our meeting hous. 

No. 25: "Ephriam Bartlit dyed Febmary the m^ 1749-50 
in the 77"" year of his Eage. He was the first male Child that 
was bom in Suffield. 

"July 3'', 1750, there was a thunder storm which struck 
Moses Burt's house in Springfield and tore the southwest comer 
almost to pieces, two children lying on a bed on the same comer 
of the hous Reseved no Damig, his wife at the window, was So 
niunbed att first she new not what it was — Nor Can she give 
any account of the Claps only By what she see afterwards. 

No. 84: "Timothy Mirrick the son of Thomas and Mary 
Mirrick was bit by a Ratal Snake on August the 7"', 1761, and 
died within about two or three ours, he being 22 years, two 
months and three days old and vary Near the point of marridg. 

No. 52: "Cap. Coates a soldier sickened and Dyed January 
the 4'" 1762. 

No. 93: "One tramp as we sopose was found Ded on the 
road that Leads from Na" Blisses to William King's Soposed 
to have fit of the appoylex he was found Wensd 16"^ Day of 
May, 1764. 

No. 101: "William Simons a hed of a family in this town 
froas to Death a-going from Daniel Hancock's to his own hous 
on Saturday, January 19"' 1765, and lay until Monday Before 
he was moved. He left a family of ten children with his Wife. 

September 12"" 1768: "there was one Miss Hannah Bliss 
Daughter of the Re'nt Mr Daniel Bliss of Concord She Being 

The History of Wilbeaham 275 

one a goumy to Hartford Came to the misfertin of Being 
Drownded in agawam river So called as she and a young 
gentleman her Loveyeur ware a riding in a Chais a Cross Sd. 
River. Sweet is love if soon parted. 

May the P' 1778: "there was the Body of a Man found in 
the Riwer between Lodlo and Wilbraham and a Jurey of 
inquest set on it and brought in was some sarpint laid on him 
was the casion of his Death 1778 — . 

No. 236: " Marey Dumbleton, an old erase girl dyed January 
Xgth 1779. She Being seventy (od) years old. 

No. 254: "Dea. Nathaniel Warriner Dyed January 10''', 
1780, he being in the 77"^ year of his age; he gave 400 pounds 
to the use of the gospil and Schooling." 

With the record is an Almanac for the year 1748, one hun- 
dred and sixty-five years ago. Then as now' it was sought to 
brighten the long list of dates, and hours for the rising of the 
sun and moon, the signs of the zodiac and prognostications of 
the weather probabilities, by inserting a verse for each month. 
That for January reads : 

"Nectorian Cyder now, with Pork and Beef, 
Gives many an aching Stomach great Relief. 
And he that hasn't these, nor Money in his Purse, 
His case is bad, and's likely to be worse." 

That for July is : 

"Now wild Ingredients are together cramm'd. 
And into cloudy Cannons closely ramm'd : 
At whose dread Roar fierce Balls and Fires are hurl'd. 
Omens of that that must calcine the World." 

This was twenty-eight years before the Fourth of July was 
immortalized by the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 
It would seem that the day, or the month, had been observed 
as a time for noisy demonstrations long before the nation's 
natal day in 1776. 

The verse for December reads: 

"The trees to wear their leafy hatts forbear, , 
In Reverence to old Winter's Silver Hair; 

276 The History of Wilbeaham 

From Capricorn's cold tropic Sol looks pale, 
And Boreas beats the naked Earth with Hail." 

The last day of the year 1748 closes with this report, and 
reflection : 

"Another year now is gone 
But ah ! how little 
Have we done!" 


Some of the early records of that church, were discovered in 
an old desk, a few years ago, by Mrs. Warner Chapin of Hamp- 
den, and were copied by Rev. C. B. Bliss in 1908. I have made 
a few extracts from the copy, which has been loaned to me. 

"Aug. 31st. 1767. 
"These are the record appointed by a certain niimber of men 
that was scattered up and down in the world, as sheep without 
a shepherd. Being something acquainted with each other's 
mind in matters of the greatest concern, we did appoint this 
thirty first day of August as a day of conferring upon matters 
of faith and practice, which was held at Capt. Zachariah Eddy's 
at Belchertown. After the meeting was opened by prayer, we 
made choice of brother Matthew Smith to lead the meeting; 
then chose brother Seth Clark to keep the records for us." 

They then "confferred" upon a number of subjects, among 
which was: 

"Seventhly, How we shall find a minister of Christ. Answer: 
We have him described to us in Titus 1 : 5-10." 

"The Articles Of Faith," were agreed upon at a meeting held 
October 1, 1767, and "The Brotherly Covenant of the Baptist 
Church in Wilbraham," was adopted March 12"-, 1768, and 
at that meeting they "agreed that Br. Seth Clark has the gift 
of teaching, and have invited him to improve, and likewise 
find that Br. James Eddy has the gift of a Deacon, and have 
likewise invited him to improve in that place." 

At the meeting held in "Wilbraham, Aug. 26, 1768," Elder 
Noah Alden, Elder Joseph Meacham, and Elder Ewings, with 
delegates, were present, "and they all agreed that we were a 

The History of Wilbbaham 277 

church of Christ in the Baptist order in Wilbraham, — and 
Elder Alden baptized Timothy Burr." 

Several other meetings are mentioned in the record, and I 
copy the following. 

"Wilbraham, June 13, 1770. 
"At the request of the Baptist church of this place, the fol- 
lowing elders met in coioncil, for to assist the Baptist chttrch in 
Wilbraham in setting apart Mr. Seth Clark as pastor over them 
in the Lord. . . The churches sent to, and now present are 
— Gloucester, Elder Windsor. — Bellingham, Elder Noah Alden. 
— Leicester, Elder Nathaniel Green. — Sturbridge, Elder Ewings. 
— Montague, (no Elder, but two delegates) — Enfield, Elder 

Each Elder was accompanied by two or three delegates. I 
have omitted their names to save space, but I am surprised, and 
pleased, to find the name of my great-great-grandfather, (on 
my mother's side), Israel Kibby, as a delegate from the church 
at Enfield. The day of June 13"" was taken up with the pre- 
liminary work connected with the ordination and, "Then 
adjourned to June 14, 1770, at seven o'clock in the morning." 

They met again in the morning and continued, and concluded 
the service of ordination, and the scribe closes the record as 
follows : 

". . . and the whole conducted with regularity and order. 
Signed in behalf of Council by. 

Elder Noah Alden, Moderator 
Elder Ewing, Clark." 

It seems that many members of the church resided in other 
towns. The record says : 

"July 7, 1770. At a conference meeting held at Br. James 
Eddy's — Brother Clark mentioned the difficulty of all the 
church coming down from Granby to this place to the sacra- 
ment every time; requested the fellowship of the church, for 
him to administer the sacrament occasionally at his house, as 
he shall see fit. The chiu-ch gave him fellowship." 

On December 15, 1770, at a conference held at the request 
of Noah Clark and his wife, at the house of Brother Ephraim 

278 The History of Wilbraham 

Wright, "then proceeded to look into each others minds as to 
our present standing, and after a due consideration, agreed to 
join in worshiping with them occasionally, at the house of Noah 
Clark, and so far to keep up a free worship . . . " It would 
seem, from the above, that at first, some of the meetings were 
held in other places besides Wilbraham. There is one pathetic 
incident mentioned in the records which I copy. 

"August 12, 1769. Brother Ephriam Wright being under 
weak and languishing consumption, requested a day to be set 
apart for prayer for himself and his family ; the church granted 
his request. — ^he appeared before the church with his family, 
and gave up his children to the church, leaving a charge with 
them, (Viz. — Ephraim and Lydia)." 

The names of one hundred and sixty persons are signed to 
the Covenant. Among them are twelve of the name of Butler, 
five men and seven women, the first being Joseph Butler. The 
one hundred and twelfth and one hundred and thirteenth names 
are. Patience Atchinson and Tabitha Atchinson. Tabitha 
Atchinson was bom in Wilbraham in 1749, daughter of Benoni 
Atchinson, who lived on the east side of West Street, about 
one-fourth of a mile north of Springfield Street, nearly opposite 
where F. A. Bodurtha now lives. Probably, Patience was her 
sister, bom before the family moved to Wilbraham. 

"Tabitha Atchinson own'd y' Cov^" in the First church in 
Wilbraham, "Dec. IS"" 1767." It seems strange that she 
shovdd have gone so far from her home, to join another church. 
Perhaps a case of discipline, in which she was concerned in 
1767, may have had something to do with the change. 

The Stebbins History says that the Baptists erected a meeting 
house in 1779. It was located some fifty to one hundred rods 
northwest of the cemetery at East Wilbraham, and for a time 
the Society prospered. "From 228 members, reported in 1802, 
the church diminished . so that in 1807 it is reported to have 
"lost its visibility." The meeting house was destroyed by fire 
in 1833. Some of the foundation stones are still in' existence. 
The starting of the Baptist church at "Colton Hollow" in 1794, 

The Histoet of Wilbbaham 279 

an account of which is given on another page, probably had 
much to do with the decline of this, The First Baptist Church 
in Wilbraham. 


After the removal of the Baptist church at Colton Hollow, 
to South Wilbraham, in 1854, there was no stated place for 
religious services in that portion of our town, now called Glen- 
dale, but such services were held quite regularly in several 
private houses and the schoolhouse. It is said that a colored 
man. Rev. J. N. Mars, who had been a slave, preached there 
for some time about 1850. 

Soon after that time a Methodist class was. formed by Rev. 
Z. A. Mudge, who was pastor of the M. E. Church at the 
"Centre" in 1851-'52. 

Lorenzo Kibbe, who lived on the east side of our Main 
Street, where Mr. J. A. Calkins lives now, (the Noah Alvord 
place) was appointed leader of the class, which nimibered 
twenty-nine at first. Mr. Kibbe was a very large, portly man, 
full of enthusiasm and religious zeal, very fond of singing and 
with a voice like a trumpet. He walked from his home, to 
attend the meetings at Glendale in the eveniags, and when the 
services were concluded, walked home again. And, on his 
homeward journey, after having climbed the eastern slope of 
the mountain and commenced the descent on the western side, 
he would break forth into song, and the sotind of his voice rolled 
far down the mountain side and could be heard for quite a 
distance along our Main Street. I have heard it many times 
in the late evening, when I was returning to my home from 
some gathering in the village, along about the years 1853 to 
'58. Mr. Kibbe finished his work as leader of the class in 1867. 
From a record kept by Mr. Kibbe, I quote the following: 

"About the month of July, following the organization of this 
Class, as many of its members had not enjoyed the rite of 
baptism, and as there was a difference in the minds of the sub- 
jects, as to the manner in which it should be administered, it 
was agreed to procure the services of both a Methodist and a 

280 The History of Wilbraham 

Baptist minister. Accordingly Dr. Miner Raymond and Elder 
Pratt were engaged. — the preaching services were held in a 
grove, east of the school house. Dr. Raymond preaching in the 
forenoon and Elder Pratt in the afternoon, after which the 
baptism took place. Dr. Ra}nniond baptizing one, and then 
Elder Pratt one, until all were baptized." 

The place of baptism was the brook, or pond, northwest of 
the house of A. M. Seaver, then owned by Jason Stebbins, and 
the pond has since been used for the same purpose. Rev. 

■T yy.w 


Ipf 1 i J 


V ' ^^ '*- -"^^s 

{'' '< 



Sc ' '^ ^ ^tf^ 



















Showing Soldiers' Boulder and Cemetery on the left. 

Mr. Haskell was assigned as pastor to this people in 1867, and 
it was at his suggestion that the locality was called Glendale. 
In 1868, a meeting house was erected at a cost of about $2,000, 
above the foundation, which was put in by the members of the 
society. The site selected, was on land o^ Chauncey Bishop, 
which was formerly part of the farm of Deuty Partridge, and 
his house must have been near where the church now is. The 

The History of Wilbkaham 281 

location is also near the north side of the "over-plus" land of 
the second division. 

The society was incorporated under the name of the Glendale 
M. E. Church in 1869. 

Rev. Edward Cooke, D.D., Principal of Wesleyan Academy 
1864-'74, attended to supplying the pulpit for some time, 
sending students to preach when unable to come himself. 

Many of the students who preached their first sermon in 
Glendale have since filled prominent places in the New England 
Conference and elsewhere. At least two have been Presiding 
Elders, George Whitaker and Jphn Galbraith. 

The people, realizing that those young men, who came, "Over 
the Mountain to preach to the heathen," must have a place to 
begin somewhere, were kindly disposed towards them, and 
testify that, with their enthusiasm and zeal, they did much 
good in the community. For a number of years the pastor 
who has supplied the pulpit has also had another charge, either 
in Wilbraham centre or at Hampden. The present pastor is 
Rev. H. G. Alley, who was pastor there for three years, more 
than twenty years ago. A Sunday school was organized about 
the same time as the church, and a library was gathered, with 
some assistance from Roderick Burt, who was a Wilbraham 
man, and a bookseller. Until the meeting house was built, the 
books were kept in a cupboard in the old red schoolhouse, and 
were afterwards transferred to a bookcase which was pre- 
sented to the church for that purpose. 


Previous to about 1874, religious services were held occa- 
sionally at private houses. Many of the residents attended 
preaching services at the Congregational Church in the Centre 
village. A "buss," or stage, ran regtilarly every Sunday for a 
few years, to carry, the worshipers who did not have teams of 
their own. In 1874, as the population of the neighborhood 
increased, services were held in Liberty Hall, over the old 


The History of Wilbraham 

cheese factory, where the store of F. A. Fuller now is, on 
Stinday afternoons. Rev. Martin S. Howard, pastor of the 
Congregational Church at the Centre, conducted the services 
most of the time. A Sunday school was organized about the 


same time. In 1876, those who worshiped in the hall formed 
the Grace Chapel Society of Collins Depot, and the erection 
of the present meeting house was commenced. The land on 
which the building stands was given to the society by Warren 

The History of Wilbraham 283 

Collins, who was the first station agent and first postmaster at 
North Wilbraham (then called Collins Depot). 

The Chapel was dedicated March 11th, 1877, with sermon 
by Rev. M. S. Howard, who was assisted in the other services 
by Rev. J. F. McDuffie of Ludlow. Previous to about 1878 
the services were held quite late in the afternoon, as Mr. Howard 
preached in the forenoon and afternoon at the church in the 
Centre village. But, beginning with the year 1878, arrange- 
ments were made, so that the afternoon services at the centre, 
were transfered to the church at North Wilbraham, and the 
Grace Chapel Society contributed 1300 annually towards Mr. 
Howard's salary, he serving both churches. This arrangement 
was continued for eight years, or until the year 1886, when 
Grace Union Church was organized. It was started as a union 
church with 48 members, representing Congregational, Method- 
ist, Baptist and other Christian denominations. In these last 
twenty-seven years of its history it has been a power for good 
in the community, and has received into its fellowship one- 
hundred and seventy-two members. Of the original members, 
eighteen are still living and eleven of them are residents of 
Wilbraham. The membership of the church at the present 
time is ninety- three. 


Previous to 1881, a Methodist church society was organized 
in that neighborhood, and a meeting house erected and services 
held in it for a number of years until about 1893, when the 
building was converted into a dwelling house and is now owned 
by Mrs. Inez Perry. 


After the decline of the first Baptist Church, I have not 
learned that any house of worship was erected in that locality 
for some years. 

284 The Histoky of Wilbbaham 

Probably religious services were held in private houses 

On April 18, 1868, the present society was formed and the 
present meeting house was erected in that year. The land on 
which it stands was given to the society by Col. Benjamin 
Butler, and James K. Butler, a son of Colonel Butler, has been 
clerk of the society for many years. The services have been 


conducted by ministers of different denominations, including 
those of the Advent faith, and in recent years, for part of the 
time, by the pastor of Grace Church at North Wilbraham. 


A society of the Catholic faith was gathered at North Wil- 
braham, and services were held in the Liberty Hall, until 1890, 
when the present church edifice was erected. Services have 
been conducted regularly since that time by Rev. William 
Hart, pastor of the church at Palmer. 

The History of Wilbraham 




The establishment and maintenance of public schools, has 
always been a matter of deep interest to the people of our 

As early as 1737 the Town of Springfield "Granted to the 
Inhabitants at the Mountains on the East Side of the Great 
River for supporting Schooling there three potinds and to be 
paid as it becomes due to Nathan' Warriner." 

This appropriation was increased from year to year until 
1749, when it was £ 35. But the apparent increase was proba- 
bly due to a depreciation in the paper money, which was then 
at about seventy-five per cent discount. For, in 1750, the 
amount appropriated was £4. 13s. 4d. "Lawful Money," (or 
coin). This amount was increased in 1755 to £6-16-7-1. On 
November 8, 1752, Springfield "Voted that Mr. Jacob White 
Mr. Nath" Burt & L'= Samuel Mirick be a Com" to Examine 
the Circumstances of the Inhabitants of the Mountain Parish 
with Respect to the Towns Granting them a sum of money 

The History of Wilbraham 

towards Defraj^ng the Charge of building the School House 
already built in said Parish & make Report to this meeting." 
On November 25, 1754, there is "Granted the sum of £6. To 
be paid to Ens" James Warriner For and Towards the Charge 
of Building the school House lately built at the Moimtain 
Parish so Called and to be by him repaid to the Several persons 
who were at the Expense of building the same." So it seems 
our first schoolhouse was built previous to 1752. It stood on 
the west side of our Main Street, about opposite the present 
Congregational Meeting House. 

After the town was incorporated they voted, on December 1, 
1763, "£15. for the support of Schooling." In 1775, the town 
was divided into ten districts and about one hundred and 
twenty-six dollars was raised for the support of schools. There 
were but two schoolhouses in town at that time, the one 
opposite the Congregational Church, already mentioned, and 
one on the "middle," or Ridge Road, about where the school- 
house of District No. 5 now is. The schools were mostly kept 
in rooms in private houses. 

The teachers "boarded round," remaining at each house 
where there were scholars from three to twelve days. In the 
Wilbraham History, Dr. Stebbins says: 

"This system was continued down to a recent period, — into 
my own days of school-teaching, and perhaps since. It was a 
great occasion, for the children especially, to have the school- 
master come to their house to board. The goodies were to be 
arranged in tempting richness and abu^idance upon the table. 

"With what bewitching grace of mingled fear and delight 
would the little girl, her face all rosy with modesty, her eye 
sparkling with expectation, stammeringly, half-curtesying, 
half -hesitating, announce to you the thrilling news that all 
things were now ready, and that 'mother wants you to come 
and board to our house next week.' And when you gave the 
welcome reply, ' I shall be happy to go, ' how lightly and jocundly 
she bounded away to announce the news to the envious group 
of her companions ! 

"From that night on, what a stir was under that roof! The 
candlesticks are scoured, the andirons put in order; the best 
bed, which had not been occupied for half a year, perchance. 

The History of Wilbraham 287 

overhauled; the best knives and forks taken out of their quiet 
resting-place and polished; the baby's dresses looked after and 
ironed out; in short, there was a universal brushing up and 
smoothing down of the whole premises. Especially did Jemima 
experiment on the possibility of an unaccustomed curl or crimp 
in her auburn hair. And when the time came for the master to 
make one of the household, how many benedictions did he pro- 
nounce on the extra rye-and-indian bread; the luscious spare- 
rib; the smoking cakes; and above all on the sweet, darling 
baby ! And with what earnest importunity did the proud mother 
insist upon his taking one more piece of the cake redolent of the 
molasses coating, and making refusal impossible by insinuat- 
ingly announcing that Jemima made it! Ah, those were 
halcyon days, — the elysium of schoolmasters!" 

They were good days for the children too. It brought them 
into a closer and more intimate relation with the teacher and 
did them good. I can speak from experience, for I remember 
when the school teacher boarded, for a week or more, in my 
own home. 

In 1791 the town appropriated £100, to be divided among 
the school districts in proportion to the money they paid into 
the treasury, to assist in the erection of school houses. This 
appropriation was continued for three years. 

In order to give better opportunities to those who were 
aspiring for more instruction, the town appropriated, in 1792- 
'93, £12 each year, "to the School District in which lives Samuel 
F. Merrick, Provided they keep a Gramar School six months 
from the present time/and the Inhabitants of the whole town 
have Liberty to send scliollars to said School, said School to be 
under the direction of the selectmen." The town furthermore 
voted "that the scholars of such parents as did not furnish one 
quarter of a cord of wood cut fit for the fire before the first of 
January, should not be taught at school, and if any teacher 
violated the rule no order should be given for wages." Dr. 
Stebbins further says: 

' ' Our schools have been constantly improving. A geography 
with an atlas was introduced as early as 1820. Dabol super- 
seded Pike; and Smith, Dabol. It is only in very recent times 

The History of Wilbkaham 

that boys generally have been rash enough or bold enough to 
study grammar and geography, or girls hardy and courageous 
enough to study arithmetic. I remember the first boy who was 
presumptuous enough to venture on fractions. ... I believe 
I was myself the first person who taught Colburn's Intellectual 
Arithmetic in town; it was in 1828. Gradual improvement 
has marked them from the beginning. . . . Posterity will be 
more grateful for nothing you leave them than for good public 

Besides the public schools, there were men in town who 
taught private schools, where better instruction was given. 
Rev. Mr. Witter had such a school. He lived on the west side 
of our main street, just south of the lane that leads off to the 
west, directly opposite Federal Lane, where Mrs. Thompson 
now lives. Mr. Witter was pastor here from 1797 to 1814. 
Rev. Ebenezer Brown taught a grammar school. He was the 
minister here from 1818 to 1827. In the Glendale, or Colton 
Hollow district. Elder Alvin Bennett had private scholars, and 
sometimes taught a public school. Rev. Mr. Warren, of the 
South Parish, had private scholars until his death. He was 
pastor there from 1788 until 1829. "By these means, the 
children of the town," in those early days, "were enabled to 
obtain a very respectable edifcation without leaving its limits." 

On November 8, 1825, the Wesleyan Academy, now known 
as Wilbraham Academy, was opened for the reception of 
students, and has furnished an excellent opportvmity, for such 
of our children as desired a higher education than could be 
obtained in the public schools. Probably we do not half realize 
the great benefit the Academy has been to our town, in many 
ways. The closing of the Academy as a co-educational school 
in June, 1911, was a distinct loss to many of our young people. 
But the opening of the Academy under its new name of Wil- 
braham Academy, in 1912, restored to the boys the opportuni- 
ties of a high school education near their own homes, and we 
have every reason for wishing this institution a prosperous 

The Histoky of Wilbbaham 289 

In the conducting of the business matters of our public 
schools, previous to 1875, the "School District "• system pre- 

The voters in each district held an annual meeting and elected 
a Prudential Committee, who had charge of the selection of 
teachers and all other matters in connection with the carrying 
on of the work. The bills which they presented, after being 
approved by the town school committee, were paid by the 

If a new schoolhouse was built in any district, the expense 
was met by a tax assessed on the residents and property in that 
particular district. The district system was 'abolished in 1875, 
the town purchasing the property of the twelve school districts, 
at the appraised value of 116,531. The tax rate that year was 
128 on $1,000. But of the 127,979 raised, $16,547 was remitted 
to the taxpayers of the several school districts. In 1872, draw- 
ing was first taught in the public schools. The school com- 
mittee, in their report to the town for that year, say, "What a 
revolution ! instead of a child being punished for acting out his 
nature in drawing pictures in school, as 'in days of auld lang 
syne,' he is now commanded to do it." And they also say, that 
in accordance with the law, "we have introduced Bartholomew's 
Drawing Cards, during the winter term." 

The instruction in drawing was given by the teachers in the 
different schools until 1896, when the town made an appropria- 
tion for that purpose of $100, and also an appropriation of $150, 
for the teaching of music, and a special teacher was employed 
in each branch, who gave instruction in all the schools, which 
practice has been continued to the present time. In 1892, the 
people in the several districts, acting with the school children, 
procured flags for every school building. 

As the children care for these flags and raise them over their 
buildings, they will be reminded of the great achievements 
which have been made in our cotmtry, and we trust they will 
be an inspiration to them, to do well their part, as they enter 
into the larger life which increase of years brings to us all. In 
1893, the town began to pay the tuition of the high school pupils 

290 The History of Wilbraham 

at the Wesleyan Academy, twelve attending in the fall term, 
and fifteen in the winter. In the same year, Miss Mary L. 
Poland began her long service as superintendent of schools, in 
a district consisting of the towns of Ludlow, Longmeadow, 
Hampden and Wilbraham, giving to the schools of each town 
the benefit of skilled supervision, and her work has proved 
generally successful and satisfactory. Since the closing of the 
Academy as a co-educational school, the girls of our town, who 
desire a high school education, find it necessary to attend the 
high schools in Springfield, Palmer or Ludlow, as most con- 
venient for them, and some of our boys are attending the schools 
in those places. During the past year, twenty-six have attended 
the schools in those towns, and five have attended the Wilbra- 
ham Academy. The total expense for high school and academy 
tuition for the past year has been $2,468.50. About one-half of 
this expense will be refunded by the state. 

The following table shows the amounts appropriated by the 
town for school purposes, the amounts expended, and the num- 
ber of scholars for the years mentioned. 

Town Report 



Number of 

for Year 


















It will be understood that there are some sources of revenue 
for school expenses, in addition to the amount appropriated by 
the town. 

In th« historical address, delivered here in 1831, by Dr. 
Samuel F. Merrick, after speaking of the small amounts allowed 
by Springfield for schooling in the Mountain Parish, previous to 
1763, he says, substantially, "Those insignificant sums, do not 
compare with the seven hundred and fifty dollars we are spend- 
ing this year for schools." And Dr. Stebbins said in his cen- 
tennial address, "Never, probably, were the public schools in 
better condition than today. Gradual improvement has marked 

The History of Wilbbaham 291 

them from the beginning. There is yet, however, abundant 
room for improvement, and you will make it. This year you 
pay seventeen hundred and forty-two dollars for the support 
of your schools, in the midst of a terrible civilwar, while only 
twenty years ago, in 1840, in a time of profound peace you paid 
not half as much — only eight hundred dollars. Onward! the 
path grows brighter and brighter." 

It is interesting and of value, to recall these items from the 
past, and compare them with conditions as they exist at the 
present time, and feel assured that we have made some progress, ■ 
and that the path towards a higher education for our children, 
has grown "brighter and brighter." 

I copy- another message that comes from the past. In an 
account book, kept by one of our school teachers, of her receipts 
and expenses, while teaching school in another town in 1834, 
I find that she received $150 for the year's salary. After deduct- 
ing the amount she paid for board and other expenses, she writes, 

"Settled with Mr. Smith my whole accovmt being 149.85. I 
have now after paying Mr. Smith and the money also I paid for 
necessary expenses $52.26, but $81.40 is what I should have 
had now, if I had not expended any." 

In 1881, a law was enacted by the legislature, giving women 
the right to vote for members of the school committee upon the 
payment of a poll tax. Mrs. S. F. White has the honor of being 
the first woman to be elected a member of the school committee 
in our town. She served for the years 1890 and 1891. 

Miss Evanore 0. Beebe was elected a member of the com- 
mittee in 1905, and has served continually since that time. 

ON JUNE 14TH 1912 
The Graduating Exercises of the Grammar Schools 


In anticipation of the approaching anniversary of the incor- 
poration of the town, the school committee, assisted by the 
district superintendent, prepared an interesting historical 

11 §1 2^ 

> S 03 

294 The History of Wilbbaham 

exercise for the occasion. Scenes from the ancient life of the 
town were presented by the great-great-great-grandchildren of 
those early settlers. Clad in "y^ ancient garb," there appeared 
representatives of the "Worthy and ReV* Noah Mirick," 
"Good Deacon Warriner," "Faithful Teacher Mary Newell," 
and others who have won our esteem and affection because 
of the work they wrought here in those days of long 

The following is a copy of the 


Song: "Battle Hymn of the Republic," 
Oldtime School. Miss Mary Newell, Teacher. 


Song: "The Landing of the Pilgrims." ■^ 

History of the Middle Ages of Wilbraham. 

Part 1. 1636-1741. Part 2. 1741-1763.. 

Hymn. Choir Leader, Deacon Warriner. 

Volume II. Part II. 1741-1763. 

Song: "On Springfield Mountain." 

Volume III. 1763-1787. 

Song: "Shays's Rebellion." 

Volume IV. Parti. 1787-1863. 

Song : ' ' Marcus Lyon. ' ' 

Volume IV.. PartJI. 1787-1863. 

Poem: "Of Wilbraham." ] Jennie 

Poem: " A Song of the Mountain " • Tupper 

J Dowe 
Valedictory. From Address of Rev. Rufus P. Stebbins. 
' ' Portuguese Hymn. ' ' 

Awarding of Diplomas. 
"The Star-Spahgled Banner." •. 


About 1850 an Academy was started at South Wilbraham, 
with George Brooks as first principal. With some interruptions 
the school was continued for thirty or forty, years, having at 
times forty or more students, but was discontinued several 
years ago, and the building is now the Town House. 

The History of Wilbeaham 



The following is a list of the Representatives sent to the 
General Cotirt from 1786 up to the present time. From 1763 
till the Revolutionary War, the town voted with Springfield 
for Representatives : — 

1786-88, Phineas Stebbins. 1833, 

1789-92, None. 1834, 
1793-94, John Bliss. 

1795, None. 1835, 
1796-1803, John Bliss. 

1804, None. 1836, 

1805, Phineas Stebbins 

1806, None. 1837, 

1807, Wra. Ringe and 
Solomon Wright. 1838, 

1808, None. 

1809, WiUiam Ringe and 1839, 
Augustus Sisson.^ 1840, 

1810, Augustus Sisson'and 1841, 
Walter Stebbins. ' 1842, 

1811, Walter Stebbins and 1843, 
Abel Bliss, Jr. 1844, 

1812, None. 1845, 

1813, William Clark and 1846, 
Joseph Lathrop. 1847, 

1814-15, Robert Sessions and 1848, 

Joseph Lathrop. 1849, 

1816, Robert Sessions and 
Moses Burt. 1850, 

1817, Robert Sessions and 
William Wood. 1851, 

1818-19, None. 1852, 

1820, Abel Bliss. 1853, 

1821-23, None 1854, 

1824, Abel Bliss. 1855, 

1826, Voted not to send. 1856, 

1826, Abel Bliss and 1857, 
Dudley B. Post. 1858, 

1827, Abel Bliss and 
Robert Sessions. 1859, 

1828, Luther Brewer. 1860, 

1829, Luther Brewer and 1861, 
Jacob B. Merrick. 1862, 

1830, William S. Burt and 1863, 
Jacob B. Merrick 1866, 

1831, Moses Burt and 1868, 
Wm. S. Burt. 1870, 

1832, Abraham Avery and 1872, 
Wm. S. Burt. 1874, 

Stephen Stebbins. 

Abraham Avery and 

Stephen Stebbins 

.Walter Stebbins and 

Wm. Knight. 

Walter Stebbins and 

Wm. Knight. 

Walter Stebbins and 

Wm. Wood. 

Jesse W. Rice, M. D. and 

Wm. V. Sessions. 

Stephen Stebbins. 

Jolm NeweU 

Marcus Cady, M. D. 

John Carpenter. 

Samuel Beebe. 

Voted not to send. 

No choice. 

Voted not to send. 

John Smith. 

None elected. 

No choice; two meetings for 

the purpose. 

Roderick S. Merrick, 

second meeting. 

S. C. Spelman. 

No choice. 

Philip P. Potter. 

John W. Langdon. 

John Baldwin. 

John B. Morris. 

Roderick Burt, Dist. No. 3. 

Rep. from Longmeadow, 

Dist. No. 3. 

Wm. P. Spelman, Dist. No. 3. 

Rep. from Longmeadow, 

Joseph McGregory, 

Rep. from Longmeadow, 

Walter Hitchcock, 

John M. Merrick 

William R. Sessions, 

Ira G. Potter 

Ephraim Allen, 

Francis E. Clark 

The History of Wilbkaham 

1877, Horace M. Sessions. 
1881, Chauncey E. Peck. 
1885, Moses H. Warren. 
1888, Henry Clark. 
1892, Sumner Smith 

1894, Jason Butler 
1900, Charles C. Beebe. 
1909, E. W. Wall, died. 
Clarence P. BoUes. 

It appears, that from about the year 1800 to 1839, the town 
of Wilbraham was entitled to send two representatives to the 
legislature each year; from 1839 to 1857, one each year; from 
1857 to 1877, one every other year. Since 1877, the opportunity 
to send a representative has been gradually diminishing until 
the present time, when we are permitted to nominate a candi- 
date only once in about ten years. 

Previous to 1866, the year in which the representatives were 
elected is given. Beginning with 1866, the year in which they 
served is given. 


1741-55, David Merrick, 1842, 

Prec't Clerk. 1846- 

1756-63, Isaac Brewer, 1848 

Prec't Clerk. 1850 

1763-73, Ezra Barker. 1851-j 

1773-78, James Warriner. 1853-j 

1779-80, Noah Warriner. 1855 

1781-85, James Warriner. 1856 

1785-86, Pliny Merrick. 1857-, 

1786-90, Samuel F. Merrick. 1859-1 

1791-92, John Buckland. 1861, 

1793, Daniel Dana. 1862, 

1793-1805, Robert Sessions. 1863- 

1805-10, Philip Morgan. 1866- 

1810-11, Augustus Sisson. 1867- 

1811-12," Abel Bliss. 1869 

1812-14, Philip Morgan. 1871, 

1814-20, Moses Burt. 1872, 

1820-24, Calvin Stebbins. 1873- 

1824-25, Luther Brewer. , 1875- 

1826, William Wood. 1880 

1827, Luther Brewer. 1886 

1828, John McCray. 1890, 
1829-36, Sylvanus Stebbins. 1891 
1837-38, Luther Brewer. 1898 
1839, Luther B. Bliss. 1903 
1840-41, John M. Merrick. 1909 

John McCray. 
47, Roderick S. Merrick. 
49, Soloman C. Spelman. 

Jesse W. Rice. 
52, Luther B. Bliss. 
54 Horace M. Sessions. 

Roderick Burt. 

Ralph Glover. 
58, William P. Spelman. 
60, H. Bridgman Brewer. 

Howard Staunton. 

James Staunton. 
4, John M. Merrick. 

6, Gilbert Rockwood. 
■8, Francis E. Clark. 
70, Sullivan U. Staunton. 

Robert R. Wright, Jr. 

Chauncey E. Peck. 
4, William P. Spellman. 
■9, Erasmus B. Gates. 
■5, Charles E. Stacy. 
9, W. E. Stone. 

Henry Cutler. 

7, Charles E. Stacy. 
1902, Frank A. Fuller. 

8, Edwin W. Wall. 
, Wm. H. McGuire, Jr. 

The History of Wilbkaham 297 


John Stearns. Daniel Ufford. 

Gordon Percival. Edwin McCray. 

Samuel P. Merrick. Marcus Cady. 

Judah Bliss. Abial Bottom. 

Abiah Southworth. Stebbins Foskit. 

Converse Butler. James M. Foster. 

Luther Brewer. Horace G. Webber. 

Jacob Lyman. W. H. Bliss. 

Elisha Ladd. A. O. Squier. 
Gideon Kibbe. . Arthur L. Damon. 

Jesse W. Rice. , George T. Ballard. 

John Goodale, 

And now we come to the parting of the ways. 

In ordinary life, about half the population of the world are 
privileged to change their names at least once, and a great 
majority of such persons accept that privilege, and seem to 
enjoy the experience. And so it came about in the history of 
our town, that the south part wished to change its name. It 
was nothing new. 

In 1766, and again in 1768, there was an article in the warrant 
for the town meeting as follows: "To see if the Town will give 
Liberty to the Inhabitants of the South part of Wilbraham that 
they have Two Months Preaching in the winter season upon 
their own Cost." The article "was passed in the negative." 
But those who desired a change were not discouraged, and the 
question came up again and again. In 1772, a petition was 
presejited, and as it gives some light on the conditions which 
then existed I insert it. 

July 20'h 1772 Petition by Asa Chaffee and in behalf of others. 
Presented to the town to set off the south part of the town as a town by 
itself, says (very much condensed) "We have 47 families in the part 
asked for and 20 young men — ekclusive of Wales as it is called which 
borders upon us — tis not any dissatisfaction with our Rev. Pastor or 
offense taken with y= Ci*" — our distance from meeting is so great, y« 
season a great part of ye year difficult, and we so unable to keep Horses & 
Furniture that it is truly y= case that far y= greater part of our Families 
are obliged to stay at home. — and well knowing what a tendency staying 
from Public Worship has to indispose people therto — tis a continual greaf 
to us. that so many in our families are obliged to stay at home on Sabbath 

The History of Wilbraham 

This petition brought an article into the warrant as follows: 
"Art. 3'*, To see if the Town will vote off the South end of the 
Town as far north as the south side of Othinel Hitchcocks lot 
(on the west to Middle Road, then on north side of Abel Kings 
lot to Monson) to be a Town by ourselves." The town clerk 
adds, "an unintelligible article." No action was taken on it. 
The division of the town into two parishes in 1782, relieved the 
situation for a time. In 1840, there was an Article, "9"* To see 
if the Town will vote to divide the Town on the line of the 
parishes in case they do not build a Town House." "Voted 
not to divide the Town." But at last, after more than a hun- 
dred years from the time when a division of the town was first 
presented, on November 6th, 1877, the town again voted on the 
question. The vote was taken by roll-call, and was at a town 
meeting held in South Wilbraham. Out of 203 votes cast, only 
19 voted against division. On March 28, 1878, the Legislature 
passed an Act incorporating the present town of Hampden. 
Good-bye, old friends. There was many a wordy battle between 
the two sections at different town meetings, but, considering the 
nature of man, and all the conditions which surrounded us, we 
worked fairly well together in those by-gone days. At the town 
meeting held April 1st, 1878, three days after the passing of the 
Act, "The new town of Hampden was invited to participate in 
the meeting in all but voting for town officers." Showing that 
harmony and good-will prevailed between the two sections. 
The same feeling of good-will has continued through all the 
years since then. 

I have no desire to revive, or to keep alive, any of the feeling 
which existed in different sections of the town on this subject, 
some twenty-five or more years ago. But I feel that a brief 
statement of some of the facts should be made, as part of our 
town history. 

The question of building a Town Hall had been considered by 
the voters for many years. I have found articles in the warrant 
for town meetings in 1838, 1840 and 1844 relating to that 

The History of Wilbraham 299 

matter. The article in the warrant calling the meeting ia 1840 
reads : "To see if the Town will vote to locate the Town House, 
if they agree to build one, on the Green so called near the house 
of John Adams.", At the April meeting in 1885, the following 
article was in the warrant : 

"Art. 16, To see if the Town will vote to erect a monument 
to the memory of the men of Wilbraham who died for their 
country in the war for the preservation of the Union, and make 
all necessary appropriations, and choose a committee to carry 
the same into effect." 

A committee of five was chosen to consider the matter and to 
report at a later meeting. About a month later the committee 
reported in favor of building a Memorial Town Hall, and that 
it be located on the lot where the Soldiers' Monument now is, 
which is very near the exact centre of the town. 

The town accepted the report, voted to build and chose a 
committee of five to proceed with the work. At that time the 
lot was owned by James B. Crane of Dalton, whose mother was 
daughter of Gaius Brewer, who had lived on the lot for many 
years and until his death in 1843, when the place was occupied 
by his son John, tintil his death in 1860. The committee pur- 
chased the lot of James B. Crane for S500, his brother, Zenas 
M. Crane, also of Dalton, paying one-half of the price, as a 
present to the town. 

The committee selected a plan for a building and received 
bids for its erection. 

But there were some in town who desired a different location, 
and a petition was presented to the Court, asking for an in- 
junction to restrain the committee from going on ynth the 
work, claiming that the action of the town was illegal. 

The hearing on the petition delayed matters until about the 
first of January, 1886, when the Supreme Court declared that 
the action taken by the town was legal. 

A meeting of the building committee was held January 21st, 
1886, and three bids were received for doing the work: One 
from Joseph Hayden of Springfield for $10,000; one from the 

300 The History of Wilbraham 

Flynt Building & Construction Co. of Palmer for $9,060; a 
bid which I presented was lower than these, and the contract 
was awarded to me for $8,475. The winter of 1886 was very- 
mild, and the excavation for the walls and basement was soon 
completed. The walls were to be of red sandstone, rough ashler 
work, to about four feet above the ground and then of brick. 

The stone for the foundation was drawn from an abandoned 
quarry on the west side of West Street, about opposite where 
Dr. James M. Pease now lives. 

The stone for the rough ashler work, above the ground, was 
procured from the quarry at Sixteen Acres. The walls were 
all completed to four feet above the surface of the ground early 
in April. At the April town meeting, after a long discussion, the 
town voted to accept the work that had been done and to go on 
and complete it. 

The meeting was continued to about nine o'clock in the 
evening when, some of the voters having gone home, a motion 
to reconsider prevailed, and it was voted not to build. 

Weary with the long strife, those who favored the project 
gave it up, and we have no town hall yet. A lawsuit was 
necessary before the contractor received pay for the work he 
had done, and it was about three years before the matter was 

The expense to the town was a little more than $3,000. 


In March, 1870, the first horse-car was run on the street 
railway in Springfield, and in 1890, part of their system of street 
railways was equipped with electric motor cars and the use of 
horse power was discontinued as rapidly as possible and the 
"trolly" system adopted. The lines were gradually extended 
and, on September 17th, 1901, the electric cars began running 
regularly through the north part of our town. Efforts have 
been made by our citizens to have the line extended along 
Springfield Street to our centre village, and thence to North 
Wilbraham to connect with the present line there, but without 

The Histoby of Wilbraham 301 

success so far. The Street Railway and Excise tax received by 
the town for the year ending February 22nd, 1913, was $4,518.15. 


A private telephone line was constructed from North Wilbra- 
ham to our centre village by Dr. S. Foskit and the Wesleyan 
Academy, and was in use in 1880. About 1884, Dr. H. G. 
Webber made use of the line. The charge at first was about 
$30 per year, but about 1886 the price was raised to $100 per 
year. The subscribers declined to pay the charge and the 
telephones were removed. 

In 1903, the public line was built- and was in use about the 
middle of January, 1904. 

On the 1st of January, 1914, there were about 106 subscribers 
on the several lines radiating from the "Collins House" at 
North Wilbraham, and the welcome tinkle of the "telephone 
call" is now heard in many of the homes throughout the entire 
territory of Wilbraham. 


From about 1849 to about 1855, the excitement caused by 
the discovery of gold in California spread over the country like 
wildfire, and thrilled in the hearts of the young men of that 
time, until they saw visions of great wealth waiting for them 
on that far shore, if they only had the courage to go and gather 

Here and there, one with the wanderlust more strongly 
developed, determined to make the attempt, and small com- 
panies from many communities pledged themselves to go. 
Public meetings of neighbors were held to wish them Godspeed. 

A shooting match was held in East Longmeadow, in a field 
about 75 rods southwest of the Baptist Church, where the 
adventurers might test their newly acquired rifles. And when 
the shot of some adventurer rang out, and the signal showed 
that the bullet had hit the mark, cheers went up and the air 
thrilled with excitement. 

The History of Wilbraham 

A song, "The Golden Lure," was sung and shouted to a 
rollicking "hurrah, boys" time. The chorus and several lines 
of the song have been told me by one of those who used to sing 
it, and I have reconstructed some of the verses. 


We've heard a tale of a western land, 
Where gold is found in the river's sand, 
And all one needs is a spade and pick, 
To take out chunks as big as a brick. 


Heigh, ho! and away we go, 

To the golden shore of San 'Frisco. 

Heigh ho! and away we go, 

To dig up the gold at Sacramento. 

We've formed our band and our trip is planned. 
To journey far to that promised land. 
For the golden ore is now in store. 
On the banks of Sacramento's shore. 

Heigh, ho! — etc. 

With pick and shovel and iron bar. 
We'll probe the hiUs in that land afar; 
We'll dig all day with all our might. 
And weary not till the stars are bright. 

Heigh, ho! — etc. 

We'll make our beds on the cold wet ground. 
And when the wolves come a-howling 'round. 
We'll give them a shot from our rifles true. 
And we'll bring their pelts back home to you. 

Heigh, ho!— etc. 

Oh, soon afar, on that shining shore. 
We'll turn the sands for the golden ore; 
We'll work with a will and all our pull. 
And we'll come back with our pockets full. 

Heigh, ho! — etc. 

Among those who heard and heeded the call to that "shining 
shore," were the following from Wilbraham: 

James Merrick, Samuel F. Merrick, Pliny K. Merrick, D. 
Brainard Merrick, Erasmus B. Gates, Myron Brewer, Reuben 

The History of Wilbraham 303 

Jones, Walter Hitchcock, George McGregory, Franklin Steb- 
bins, Darwin Chaffe, Carson Cone, Charles Hancock, Gilbert 
Stacy, John Bradway, Otis Lincoln, Joseph Baldwin. Perhaps 
a few others, whose names I have not learned. I have learned 
some of the details of the journey there, from my uncle, 
Horace G. Kibbe, of East Longmeadow, now of Sonora, Cal. 
Most of them went by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The 
demand for passage was so great that it was necessary to 
secure tickets several weeks in advance. 

The fare for steerage passengers was S200 from New York to 
San Francisco, which included meals while on shipboard. Most 
of the men walked across the Isthmus, their baggage being 
carried on pack mules. They were twelve days on the Atlantic 
Ocean, three or four days crossing the Isthmus, and were seven 
days sailing up the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco. 

Nearly all of those whose names I have given returned to 
their homes here, after a few years. I heard it told around at 
the time that S. F. Merrick said that he was "going to show 
the men of Wilbraham how to build a bam." The stone bam 
on the west side of our Main Street, some 20 or 40 rods north 
of the Tinkham Road, is the result of his efforts. It was an 
ambitious undertaking. 

Not all of the men who felt the call of the "golden lure," 
travelled as far as California, in their search for it. About the 
time of the California excitement, there were persistent rumors 
in many of our New England towns that some of "Captain 
Kidd's gold" was buried within their borders. There was a 
man here who "dreamed," or conceived, or believed, that 
some of it was hidden on the top of our mountain, in an old 
cellar hole, a little east of the Ridge road and a little north of 
the road to Monson. Two or three others became interested in 
the subject, and for several nights they visited the place and 
turned the sod, the soil and the sands, in and around that old 
cellar, in their eager search for the buried gold. 

During all the digging, not a word must be spoken, for they 
believed that if their efforts should be successful and the iron 
case containing the golden treasure should be vmcovered, and 

304 The Histohy of Wilbeaham 

if at the same time the sound of a human voice should vex the 
spirits of the midnight air, the object of their quest would glide 
a hundred or even a thousand feet down into the bowels of the 
mountain and be lost to them forever. A boy about eight or 
ten years old learned something of what was going on, and, like 
many other boys, he wanted to know more about it. So when 
the men gathered with their picks and shovels near his home, 
in the late evening, to journey to the abandoned cellar, he fol- 
lowed on after them, keeping a discreet distance in the rear, 
and was able to observe their operations. He survived the 
experience and has related the incident to me. 


A Lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars, under 
the name of Freedom's Guide Lodge No. 163, I. 0. of G. T. 
was established here about 1866, and was quite successful as a 
social organization for a few years, holding meetings in the 
vestry of the Congregational Church, and doubtless doing some 
good for the temperance cause. The society went out of exist- 
ence about 1870. 

There was also a society of the Sons of Temperance in the 
centre, and one at North Wilbraham, a little later, but both 
have ceased holding meetings. And, earlier than these, there 
was a society of ' ' Know Nothings ' ' here. But we know nothing 
of what it accomplished, although I think I have a copy of its 
printed ritual, which I found among the Wm. W. Merrick 


In 1870, Rev. Edward Cooke, D.D., and eighteen other 
Masons in Wilbraham, were granted a charter for Newton 
Lodge, and Brother Cooke was elected the first master. 

The first meeting of the Masons of Wilbraham to consider 
the matter of forming a lodge was held at the office of Dr. 
Stebbins Foskit, October 6, 1870. Other meetings were held 
there and at the office of Rev. Dr. Cooke, principal of Wesleyan 
Academy. The first meeting in the present lodge rooms was 

The Histohy of Wilbraham 305 

held January 4, 1871. The charter members were: Rev. Dr. 
Edward Cooke, Dr. S. Foskit, C. G. Robbins, W. H. Day, 
J. W. Green, J. S. Morgan, E. Jones, E. B. Newell, W. F. 
Morgan, L. J. Potter, W. L. Collins, A. Boothby, C. M. Parker, 
W. M. Green, W. Kent, D. A. Atchinson, H. H. Calkins, and 
W. F. Eaton. About one-half of the charter members with- 
drew from Hampden Lodge of Springfield to form Newton 
Lodge. One night in 1875, there was considerable excitement 
in Newton Lodge, caused by a fire in the bam of one of the 
charter members. Dr. Foskit. The bam was near the lodge 
rooms and the fire threatened to spread to the near-by build- 
ings. About forty brothers were in the hall at the time and 
most of them were excused at once, and rendered efficient 
service in putting out the fire. After they had withdrawn, the 
lodge was regularly closed in form with only the traditional 
number present. 

In 1891, about twenty-seven of the members withdrew to 
form Brigham Lodge of Ludlow. In 1894, one of the members 
of Newton Lodge was appointed Grand Lecturer of the Grand 
Lodge, and served for seventeen years, visiting the lodges 
throughout the state to instruct them in the ritual. He de- 
clined a reappointment for the year 1911, because of some 
historical work he had been selected to do. He is now, (1914) 
Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. Newton Lodge 
has now about 55 members. 


Patrons or Husbandry 

was organized in 1888, and for about twelve years held their 
meetings in the Chapel of the Congregational Church. By the 
kindness and munificence of Mrs. Lucia S. Foskit, the present- 
commodious and convenient Grange Hall was erected in 1900, 
and first used in 1901, and has since served as a meeting place 
for the order, and for many social gatherings. The membership 
of the Grange is about 80. 
The ladies of the town have a Study Club, which meets 


The History of Wilbhaham 

regularly and is interested in questions around the Wide, Wide 

The boys have a serenade "Band," which is sometimes 
heard where it may not be desired, or welcomed. 



This society was formed under the name of "The Agricul- 
tural Lyceum of Wilbraham." The first meeting was held in 
the basement of Fisk Hall on December 22, 1854, and Nelson 
Mowry was elected chairman and Henry M. Bliss secretary. 
An address was given by Prof. Oliver Marcy, a teacher at the 
Academy, and Horace M. Sessions, of South Wilbraham, spoke 
on the subject of peach growing. In 1861, the name was 
changed to Wilbraham Farmers' Club, and quite regular meet- 
ings were held at the homes of different members, and occa- 

The^ History of Wilbeaham 307 

sionally at one of the churches, until about the year 1900. 
The secretary, Henry M. Bliss, was statistical correspondent 
for the U. S. Department of Agriculture for many years. 


Was formed in the Centre village about 1870, and gave a 
drama, or an entertainment of that character, nearly every 
year, for about twenty-five years. The first was a selection 
from the poem written by Dr. J. G. Holland, entitled "Bitter 
Sweet," in 1870. 

One of the most popular was the " District School," given in 
1892, and as the mention of it brings to mind so many familiar 
names and interesting incidents, I give a copy of the program. 




Y' Chapel of Y° Congregation Meeting House 


Near Ye Allis Tavern in ye Towns of Wilbraham 

Y« 23"^ Day of March, MDCCCXCII 

Ye Master of ye Skule House with ye Children of ye Deestrict, will open 
ye doors and commence to reade and spell their lessons at half past seven Towne Clock. Ye good people of ye big Towne will please get ye 
chores done earlie and put on ye Meeting Clothes so as not to be late. 
Ye Young Men and Maidens will want to heare these lessons and see how 
ye children are getting their Eddication. 

Ye price to go inne is two Dimes and a half Dime. 

Parte First. 
Ye Towne Skule Committee will meete Mr. Jabes Epaphroditus Quacken- 
bush, and see if he has laming enough to teach Ye Younge Men and ye 
Maidens of ye Stony Hill Deestrict. 

Parte Seconde. 
Ye SchoUares in all ye Deestrict of Stony Hill will begin to lam their 
A B C's, also to figger and rite, and get an eddication such as was never 
seen in the Deestrict skule on Stony Hill. 

Parte Third. 
Ye examination of ye skule wiE be held, showing what laming and 
eddication will do for our Younge Folke, so that every Farm House in ye 

308 The Histoby op Wilbraham 

deestrict even to ye big Townes of Ludlow, Monson, South Wilbraham and 
Longmeader wiU heare of these wonderful things. 

Ye Skule Committee 

Squire Isaac Skinnum C. C. Beebe 

Rev. Abinidab Twistem C. E. Peck 

Deacon Ichabod JoUyboy A. J. Blanchard 

Ye Teacher 

Mr. Jabes Epaphroditus Quackenbush F. E. Clark 

Ye SchoUares 

Phebe Ann Higgins Mrs. C. M. Pease 

Peggy Pinchbeck Warriner Mrs. P. W. Green 

Tirza Mehitable Thorp Mrs. Wm. R. Sessions 

Lucretia Arcetta Ladybelle Burt _ Miss E. M. Howard 

Silence Samantha Langdon " Mrs. C. P. BoUes 

Thankful Deborah Bliss Mrs. F. C. Learned 

Mehitable Maria Merrick Mrs. W. L. Phelps 

Prudence Priscilla Patience Jackson Miss Ida L. BoUes 

Experience Delight SawteUe Mrs. L. B. Smith 

Betsy Jane Livermore Mrs. D. L. Bosworth 

Jemima Virginia Piper Miss Clara McKeeman 

Roxalena Smith Miss M. E. Bliss 

Phebe Ann Sunlight Mulbury Miss LiUie Phelps 

Oliver Jedediah Adams Anson Soule 

Peletiah Abial Glover Ethelbert Bliss 

Silas Doolittle Phelps Leroy B. Smith 

Zenas Erastus Brocket Wm. H. Day 

Obadiah Higgins C. P. Bolles 

Daniel Hosea Baldwin N. C. Rice 

Solomon Ichabod Jones Arthur Stebbins 

Patsie Moriety H. E. Clark 

George Washington Tarbox Theodore Bottome 

James Buchanan Jackson Bert Eaton 

Caleb Spindleshanks Brewer H. A. Day 


This is very pleasantly located, near and east of the Center 
Village. The grounds now occupied by this association, con- 
taining ten and a half acres, were first purchased by R. R. 
Wright, H. Bridgman Brewer and J. M. Merrick, "at the cost 
of eleven hundred dollars. 

The association was organized under the General Statutes, 
February 12, 1858. 

A board of trustees, nine in number, are chosen annually, 
who have the care of the property. 

The Histokt of Wilbraham 309 

The first burial in these' grounds was Mrs. Louisa W. 
Wright, the wife of R. R. Wright, who died December 26, 

The officers are, Chauncey E. Peck, president; Charles N. 
Mawry, vice-president; Frank A. Gumey, treasurer; Carrie 
A. Moody, secretary. 184 lots have been sold up to the present 


From what I can gather from old records and traditions, 
there were at least five families who owned eight or more slaves 
in Wilbraham along about the years 1745 to 1780. The 
"Worthy" Rev. Noah Merrick had three, Mr. David Merrick 
had one, and Capt. John Shaw had one. There were probably 
a few more. The slaves of the Rev. Noah Merrick are supposed 
to have been inherited by his wife, from her father's estate in 
Haddam, Conn. Dr. Samuel F. Merrick had two, but they 
may have come to him from the estate of his father (Rev. Noah 

There is a strange and almost tragic incident in connection 
with those slaves of Dr. Merrick, which has been told me by 
members of the family and, while I have clothed the story in 
language of my own, I have endeavored to give a description of 
it which will convey a true idea of the incident, and still con- 
form to the truth, as regards the principal event. 

The names of Dr. Merrick's slaves were Luke and Luc 
(Lucy). Luc was a plump, kind-hearted creature, of the good 
old negro mammy character, and assisted in the household 
duties. Luke was generally of the same kindly disposition and 
very valuable as a worker on the farm. But he had a most 
violent temper, and when crossed in his wishes, or sometimes 
without any apparent cause, he would fly into a dreadful pas- 
sion, showing no more reason than a wild beast. In an hour 
or two the fit would pass off, the sxmshine in his heart woidd 
assert itself, and he was kindly and genial as usual. 

When in one of these moods he would throw the chairs or 
other furniture about the kitchen, sometimes doing considerable 

310 The History of Wilbbaham 

damage. If out of doors or at the bam, the farming tools were 
served in the same manner. 

When one of these "tant-trums," as Luc called them, came 
on him, and the men folks were all away, the women of the 
family would usually manage to coax him out of the house, 
lock the doors and let Lttke wear away his "tant-trum" by 
throwing himself against the trees or buildings, in an insane 

On a day when the men folks were all away, perhaps haying 
in a distant meadow, Luke was sent up to the house to fetch 
some water. Luc was sweeping out the kitchen and, for the 
moment, had set a chair in the doorway. Luke sprang at the 
chair, insane with passion, and flung it far out in the yard, but 
Luc slammed th6 door in his face and locked it. All the other 
doors were quickly locked and Luke drifted away toward the 
bam, venting his spite upon everything that came in his 
, way. 

The time for the mid-day meal was approaching and Mrs. 
Merrick went into the pantry to select the materials. While 
looking among the shelves, with her back toward the open 
window, she heard a noise in that direction and turning around, 
she saw the passion distorted face of Lvike at the window, with 
his hand resting on the shelf within, as if he were about to 
spring in. Screaming with fright she ran out into the kitchen, 
where she was comforted by the faithful Luc. 

Dinner may have been late that day and — perhaps — Luke 
didn't have any. 

A baby girl, bom in that family some months later, bore 
upon her breast the mark of a hroad black hand. 

When the state constitution prohibiting slavery was enacted 
about the year 1780, it is said that some of those slaves were 
invited to accompany "Massa" on a visit to Hartford, and 
were privately sold and invited to go on board a sloop lying at 
the wharf, to have a good time, and while fiddling and dancing, 
the sloop dropped into the stream, spread sail, and disappeared 
down the river. They were never heard of again. 

Senator Hoar's wife was a descendant of one of the families 

The Histokt of Wilbkaham 311 

which is said to have' disposed of their slaves in that way, but 
they always most emphatically denied that they were sold. 

The phrase, "Underground Railroad," is rarely heard in 
these day$, and may be meaningless to many persons now. 
But jfifty to one himdred years ago it was carefully whispered 
around that there were in many towns certain havens of 
refuge, where the escaped fugitive slave from the Southland, 
seeking for a home of freedom in far-off Canada, might find a 
hiding place from the htmters pursuing their human prey across 
the states. And when the hunters, hot on the trail, had come 
and passed on, and the shadows of night had fallen over the 
earth, the shrinking fugitive would be taken in a team, or 
might be directed to another place, ten to twenty, miles away, 
where he would find shelter and a hiding place from the officers 
of the law. 

It was an unlawful thing to do, but then, as now, there pre- 
vailed in the hearts of men an ujiwritten law, far above the 
decrees of courts, or the enactments of legislatures; and it is a 
well established fact that the fleeing fugitive slaves were 
sometimes helped in that way. 

A house in our center village, directly across the street from 
the one in which I reside, was torn down about 1907, when it 
was discovered that there were two cellars under it. One of 
them was quite small, entirely separate from the other and 
larger one, and entered by a trap door in the pantry. The 
story quickly spread that the house had been a "station" on 
the "Underground Railroad." 

I boarded in that house during the winter and spring of 1871 
and 1872, and did not know of that small cellar. 

The house was owned and occupied by Rev. Mr. Virgin for 
several years, about 1838, and wheii the report of the "Station " 
was being circulated, I wrote to his son, also a clergyman, to 
learn if the story could be verified, but he answered that he 
"would neither confirm or deny it," but he knew that in those 
days, if anyone in want, whether it was a homesick student, 
seeking for a shelter, in whom there might be the making of a 
Methodist bishop, or a fugitive slave fleeing from the man 

312 The Histokt of Wilbkaham' 

hunters, with his face set toward the promised land of freedom, 
"Mother" Virgin, as she was familiarly called, would not have 
turned him empty away. 

More than one embryo Methodist preacher, presiding elder 
or bishop, found a motherly, welcoming woman in what was 
then called the "Virgin Hollow Hotel," and it is quite within 
the bounds of probability that some hunted fugitive slaves 
may have been hidden there for a time. A severe struggle once 
took place at Mr. Edward Morris's, where two fugitives had 
taken refuge. Their masters or hunters came after them, and a 
fight ensued, in which one escaped to the woods, and the other 
was taken, bound, and carried away. I have no knowledge that 
any assistance was ever rendered to the hunter when he sought 
his human 'prey. 

The following, relating to some of those slaves, is copied 
from the record kept by (Clark) Samuel Warner, 1734-1783. 

"Meneder (?) a Neegrow girl of the R" Mr. Noah Mirrick'= 
Dyed March 20"^ 1774." 

"Joseph Coat a Negrow man Dyed Januarey 15"" 1782." 
"Joshua Ede (?) Lost a Black Child January y"^ 1782." 


In 1837, Delos D. Merrick of this town attended the Medical 
School at Pittsfield, Mass. The following is part of a letter 
written to his brother, William W. Merrick. 

"Pittsfield Oct. 1837 
"Dear Brother Last sabbath I took a walk out to the Lebanon Shakers, 
having heard much in regard to their late mode of worship, and for the 
first time was out of New England, it being just over the line in the state 
of New York, and certainly it is very mountainous as we go west from this 
towards Albany. The proceedings of the Shakers during their services 
were truly rediculous. They conducted themselves very much as they 
do at enfield for nearly one half hour then throwing aside aU decency cut 
all manner of shines that you could imagine. Turning upon their heels 
until so dizzy that some even fell upon the fioor & others would have fallen 
had not they been so thick as to hit some one as they were falling. One 
woman turned upon her heel 84 times without stopping & another 100 
checking herself for about a minute when she had got 50 turns accom- 
plished. They would all spat their hands stamp their feet & hallow at the 
same time. Oh! what a noise. You imagine 220 making as much noise as 
possible & you think what we had. They acted precisely like crazy people. 

The Histobt of Wilbraham 313 

One would start from one end of the house and run around in a ring turn- 
ing her hands about her head & like lightening go around 5 or 6 times 
cutting as large circle as the house would allow. Another bending back- 
wards & forwards as far as possible & not fall. I declare I expected every 
moment to see them tumble flat. Another would run and take hold of 
some one and both would wheel about 2 or 3 times and then run to another 
and perform just so again until he had gone to 10 or 12 & then he would 
leap up & down & spat his hands. They had one girl probably just joined 
them, I was pleased to see her trudge about. She could not begin to keep 
up & when they moved their hands up & down, as you have seen them at 
E. they would get hold of hers & help the poor thing. They also had a 
very noble looking man about 28 years of age I should think, he had not 
taken off his velvet vest & broadcloth pants, but he beat the Shakers 
themselves. He would cut around like the mischief. He would hug one 
and kiss him then another & and so on, & I'll be bound he got hold of a 
bluberliped negro. How sweet. I saw him upon the floor at length & I 
concluded that the fellow had got the apoplexy from his exercise & almost 
begun to feel for my lanech. But in a few minutes up he hopped and at it 
again. I wonder the men and women did not hug & kiss each other But 
I never saw a bit of the thing. No sport in this. I should have made a 
mistake and kissed a young girl for they had 2 or 3 very pretty looking 
girls. Perhaps you may think I exagerate the proceedings. N: I fall far 
short of it. You can have scarcely any idea of their conduct. They do 
more injury to their health in an hour this way than a months hard work, 
for what is like getting drunk by turning and tumbling about thus." 

In 1837 or 1838, Antoinette C. M. Bliss, went to Louisiana 
to visit her aunt, Mrs. Susan (Brewer) Thomas. Susan Brewer 
was daughter of Charles Brewer of this town. She was the 
second Preceptress of Wesleyan Academy, 1827-1829, and 
married Capt. David Thomas of Louisiana in 1834. About 
1838, her niece, Antoinette C. M. Bliss (afterwards Mrs. Speer) 
made Mrs. Thomas a visit. The following is a copy of part of 
a letter she wrote to her aunt (Mrs. Thomas Merrick) of this 

"Cottage Hall, Jackson La. 

"Feb. 8"" 1838. 

"I have just been out in the ironing house and it is a real 
curiousity. 4 nursing babes and 8 others from creeping up to 
3 or 4 yrs of age. I dont know what Asdll be when summer 
comes; 6 cradles, and they make the larger ones rock the least 
now. No one need to say, but that uncles niggers have an 
easy time." 


I have made the following copies from a collection of about 
a thousand old papers and letters, formerly belonging to 

314 The History of Wilbbaham 

("Clark") Samuel Warner, and his son, James Warner, now in 
possession of Edward P. Chapin, 97 Spring Street, Spring- 
field, Mass. 

James Warner was conductor of the mail stage between 
Boston and New York for a few years, about 1790. The stage 
line was owned by Pease & Sikes. 

On back of old Deed : 

"A Recight to make a good ointement for B ruses and maney 
Sorts of Lamenes — ^Vis. take spear mint and mutton tallow 
Simer them togather till Looks green then as much Beas Wax 
as tallow and as much Rosam as Each of the others and Simer 
them well. Set it by till it is as Cold so you may have your 
finger in it then poor in Rum and Stir it to gather till it is 

"Take Spere mint & mutten taller Bees wax Rossom Rum 
as much of one as the other." 

"Boston Mar S'-'' 1790 
Re""* of John Templeman 

One Hundred Thousand Dollars in old Continental money, 
One Hundred and Twenty one Dollars in New York new issue ? 
Money and Twenty Dollars in Pensilvania Do. Five Dollars 
New Jersey Do. All of which I promise to deliver to Mr 
Ebenezer Thayer in New York." 

(Name torn off.) 

"Hartford 7"' Feb" 1790 

ReC* from Amor Bull 24 peices of Gold weight 135 dw= which 
I promise to deliver Mr James Cummings No. 1 William Street 
New York immediately on my arrival next Wednesday 

signed James Warner." 
(But most- of the name torn off.) 

"New York June 1=' 1790 

Received of Prosper Wetmore a ticket in the second Class of 
Massachusetts State Lottery No. 2865 which has drawn a 
prize of one Hundred Dollars, which I promise to receive, and 
bring on to said P. Wetmore or return the ticket, to receive for 
my trouble one per Cent commission 

James Warner ' ' 

The Histohy of Wilbeaham 315 

"Rec"* of Norman Butler one small tied Bundle said to con- 
tain Two South Carolina State Notes amounting to One Hun- 
dred fifty five pounds U-s Sterling which Bundle is directed 
to Daniel Pomfret Merchant Water Street New York and 
which I am to deliver S"' Pomfret on my arrival in New York 
with the next mail. Hartford B"" Sep. 1790, for Levi Pease. 

James Warner." 

(About 90 receipts similar to these four, given by James 
Warner as conductor of the mail in 1790.) 

Copy of Act of Legislature about 1745 : 

"Be it enacted &c that Whenever aney Dog Shall Kill or 
Wotmd aney Sheep and proof Be made there of Before aney of 
his magistes Justes of y= pees for the County whare such Damig 
is Don y' S"*) Justis is Reg spedily to Notify y= oner of S"* Dog 
of such Damig and if y' Dog be not Kill"* within 48 ours after 
such notis given y= oner shall forfit y^ sum of five pounds to be 

"ReC' Wilbraham April 14"" 1774 of James Warner his 
promissory note of hand for the sum of £6. 18s. when paid, in 
full for my services in teaching a Singing School the Winter 
past also for the Bass Viol which I made in that time. 
Witness my hand George Allen." 

Among the papers of James Warner I found the following, 
which is so quaint and peculiar that it seems worth preserving. 


When Sol from high meridian had finish"* his carear 
A Lively semicircle in the West then did appear 
With a dark shady mantle the Globe all round was drest 
And over the Blue Canopy the Stars were interspersed 

Strait unto my Chamber then instantly I Came 

Leaning down upon my Bed I fell into a dream 

I thought four men in ancient Dress presented me a hand 

They told me I might admittance find By the order of S' John 

They told me the four Brethering wear & from Jeraslam came 
In Solomans time the porters ware aU round the temple of fame 
there was Solam Highman & acib their names I did enquire 
and talman a So Jomer wear and came from mount Moria 

316 The Histoky of Wilbeaham 

They ordered me for to Repair all with a Cemely Grace 
IJnto the mount of Horab to view that holy place 
Talman he Gave orders & bid me not refuse 
Upon that holy mountain for to take off my shoes 

Then to the Mount moriah Side a pilgrim I did Repair 
With Cherubims & palm trees the walls all Cover^ wear 
When in a trembleing poister I knocked at a door — 
Resolvd if I admittance found to See the thrashing floor — 

But orders from the alter Came for to Examin me 

Upon A point I Entered & Being Bom free 

I heard a Noise come from the East which made a glorious sound 

Then from my eyes a soit did drop & soon a light I found 

What glorious things I then did see I mean for to Conceal 
To none But such as I am I Ever will Reveal 
I then Got orders for to proceed & leave that holy mountain 
Straitway I was Conducted Back to Jordons Christal fountain 

Over Jordans Stream we passed as I must tell you true 
Of Ephramites at once they fell thousands forty two 
Yet I was Resolv'' once more to See moriahs holy Ground 
When I came there such Raps I gave as made the solemn' sound 

Then Back to Enochs Building to view that Lovely town — 
He was a son to Lamach a Craft of high Renown — 
I understand you are a Craft By what you tell to me 
And finer in mettle you are Skil<i so you may Enter free 

Then to the East of Eden to view that holy ground — 
You was a son. Lamach A Craft of high Renown — 
Of him I friendship found I thought myself secure — 
And a master Builder I was made on aroijis threshing floor 

All round the PaUies I was Brought to wisdoms temple door 
Conducted I was to the East of Aarons threshing floor — 
Five noble orders I was taught all round this temple of fame 
Sudenly I then awoke & found it was a dream — 

the end 

James Warner 
Wilbraham S O M 

This "dream" was probably written about 1790, as it was 
with papers of that date. What meaning the letters, "SO M," 
were intended to convey, I am not able to tell. They may 
have meant, Son Of Massachusetts. But, considering the 
scenes, and the characters presented, it is more likely they 
meant. Son Of Moriah, or. Son Of Melchizedek, or any other 
of many titles which may be imagined. 


318 The History of Wilbraham 


I have had an opportunity to read that diary, and as it illus- 
trates the difference in the methods of travel, then and now, 
I insert a few lines. 

"July 16, 1838, Commenced a short Tour to New York and 

"Left Springfield in the Steam Boat Agawam with a pleasant 
company on board most of whom were strangers. . . . When 
at Ware House point there were four more added to our little 
company one of which we Judged to be an Episcopal Minister. 
.... Arrived at Hartford about eleven .... put up at 
Treat's the Temperance House. . . Visited Charter Oak 
memorable for depositing the British Charter in the trunk at 
the time of the British, (visited friends in Hartford). 

"July 17"" Rose at 5. o. clock — ^we went aboard at six. — 
reached the Sound between ten and twelve o clock. . . 
Reached New York about six at eve. . . . July 19, left New 
York at 6 in the morning for Philadelphia in the Steamer P. — ■ 
to Amboy where we left the boat took the Cars to Bumington, 
then took the Steamer Philadelphia on the Delaware river, 
landed at Philadelphia about two." 

In 1842, she made another trip to New York, returning home 
on September 31st. She closes the account of this last trip as 
follows : 

"Thus endeth the last visit J. Rindge will ever make N. 

(She married Earl Trumbul of Little Falls, N. Y. a few weeks 


As near as I can learn, the toll gate was located on the hill 
east of Eleven Mile Brook (sometimes called twelve mile), and 
about four rods west of where the present road (which I have 
called East Street), leaves the Boston Road, and runs by the 

The History of Wilbkaham 319 

underpass, beneath the railroad. It was probably established 
about 1814, and discontinued about 1847. Adna Bishop was 
gate keeper for several years, beginning about 1831. His house 
was on the north side of thd Boston road, near the bam which 
has passed its usefulness and is now fallen into ruins. I have 
been told that this bam was first erected in Holyoke, and after 
doing some service' there, was taken down, brought on sleds in 
the winter time and re-erected here. A daughter of Adna 
Bishop married Albert Bliss, and she told her son, Ethelbert 
Bliss, about the location. 

Rev. Charles H. Gates, who celebrated his ninety-first birth- 
day last March, spent his boyhood days in this vicinity and 
remembers the location. Also, Henry M. Bliss, who remembers 
that the charge for a single team was a "fo-pence, ha penny," 
(nine cents). 

Rev. Mr. Gates contributes the following lines, which help 
to make vivid the situation. 

"The Old Turnpike Gate, 
Long have I stood there to wait 
For change, in rainstorm or snow. 
Gladly felt I to see it go." 


Among the papers left by Abel Bliss, Jr., now in possession 
of his granddaughter, Mrs. Sarah (Bliss) Gillet, I have found a 
copy of an Act of the Legislature of 1820, which I have con- 
densed slightly. 

"Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
"An Act to establish the Wilbraham Turnpike. 
"Be it enacted .... that Abel Bliss Junior, William 
Clark, Aaron Woodward, John Adams Junior, Ebenezer R. 
Warner, Moses Burt, Pynchon Bliss and John Glover (with 
others who may associate with them, etc.), are hereby made a 
Corporation for making a Turnpike Road through Wilbraham, 
to the line between this State and Connecticut, beginning at 
the west end of the First Massachusetts Turnpike, and extend- 

The History of Wilbraham 

ing thence, in a southerly course, through Wilbraham Street, 
near to the house of John Adams Jun"', in said Wilbraham; 
thence south, about twenty eight degrees west, or generally in 
that direction, as shall be found by the Committee appointed 
to mark said Turnpike Road, in the most convenient place for 
the public, through said Wilbraham and a part of Longmeadow, 
to the line between the States of Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut, in a direction for the house of Calvin Hall, in Somers, 
.... Shall have the powers and privilegs, and subject to all 
duties &c, contained in an Act passed March IG"" 1805. 

"Provided however, that the said Turnpike Road, from the 
First Massachusetts Turnpike, to the house of John Adams 
Jun"', may be only three rods in width : . . . . If they neglect 
to complete the road for the space of five years, the Act to be 

"Approved by the Governor June le"" 1820. 

"A true copy Attest Alden Bradford 

"Sec. of Common*" 

It is interesting to know that part of the "First Massachu- 
setts Turnpike" was in Wilbraham. Probably the west end of 
it was near the present railroad station at North Wilbraham. 
(Probably nothing was done to build the "Wilbraham Turn- 


The death of Charles Brewer, Jr., on September 28, 1853, 
may be classed as remarkable. 

He was the son of Charles Brewer, and grandfather of Charles 
A. Brewer, now living in Wilbraham. He lived in the first 
house south of the first Methodist meeting house, in the house 
now owned by F. A. Gtimey. The accident happened about 
100 rods east of our Main Street, in the cart-path which leads 
off from the road running up the mountain, south of the stone 
chtirch. I heard the story at the time, substantially as follows : 
There is a very steep pitch in the cart-path just beyond the 
stone wall, and Mr. Brewer was coming. down the path with 
his horse and wagon. He unhitched the horse from the wagon, 
took hold of the shafts himself, and attempted to guide the 
wagon down the hill. In passing through the bar- way, near 

The History of Wilbbaham 321 

the foot of the hill, he was pushed against the post on the south 
side, and one of the shafts pierced entirely through his body, 
near the chest. 

I have heard the account told, that he was leading the horse 
down the hill and was caught against the bar-post and his body 
pierced by the shaft. This account seems more likely to be the 
way the accident happened than the other. But the result 
was the same. He was killed there. He was 78 years and eight 
months old, and it seems very strange that he should have 
attempted to hold the wagon back himself, and much more 
likely that he was leading the horse. 

He was buried in the Woodland Dell Cemetery. 

His widow, "Atuit Fanny Brewer," as she was called, sur- 
vived him many years. 

"Disposal of the poor in bygone days 

' In 1821, A poor Child Betsy bound out to John • 

to learn the art, trade or mystery of housekeeping. Her master 
& mistress she shall faithfully serve, his or her secrets keep, & 
his or her lawful commands everywhere, at all times readily 
obey — at cards, dice or any other unlawful game she shall not 
play — ^nor matrimony contract, dining the 's^ term." (Till 
she was 18 years old.) 

Jan. 6, 1833, the selectmen agreed to pay Samuel Beebe 
$690.00 "to care for, and to Bury any who may die, all the 
Paupers of Wilbraham for one year." 

"Dec. 2'«* 1833, Sold to Samuel Beebe the Poor of the town 
— ^by Vendue he being the lowest bidder at ten htindred and 
ninety nine Dollars for two years from the first of April next." 


(Copied from the Stebbins History.) 

"I have gathered from various sources the following facts 
and traditions, which may be of interest to the curious in such 
matters. They are mostly obtained from the papers left by 
Calvin Stebbins and John Bliss, Esqs. 

The History of Wilbeaham 

"Agriculture. — The first potatoes were brought to toAAm 
by Dea. Nathaniel Warriner, about 1754, or about twenty- 
three years after the town was settled. There was but a peck 
of them. Broom-corn was first raised by Thomas Jones or 
Joshua Leonard. At a later period, Paul Langdon and Calvin 
and Sylvanus Stebbins raised it in considerable quantities and 
manufactured it into brooms. About 1859 it was raised by 
Daniel Atchinson on West Street and made into brooms on 
the place. 

"Plaster of Paris, or gypsum, was first brought from West 
Springfield by Gad Lamb, about 1776. 

"Calvin Stebbins brought the first plough with iron mould- 
board into town; and, probably Daniel Isham used the first 
cast-iron plough some ninety years ago. 

"Hops were cultivated about eighty years ago, by Calvin 
Stebbins. The mulberry fever raged eighty years ago, much 
to the pecuniary damage of many speculators. 

"Grafted fruit took the place, at about the same time, of 
the old varieties or cider apples. Flax ceased to be cultivated 
at the same time. Hemp was raised by a few farmers in the 
war of 1812. 

"Piscatory. — It was considered disreputable in early times 
for farmers to go after shad. They were said by their neighbors 
to be 'out of pork.' Hence, persons, going for shad, went in 
the morning before their neighbors were up, and did not return 
till they were in bed. Shad were so abundant, and farmers 
were so tinwilling to take them, that the fishermen required 
that so many pounds of shad should be taken for every pound 
of salmon. About seventy-five years ago bull-heads or horn- 
pouts made their appearance in the Scantic, and the trout all 
disappeared, much to the mortification of the anglers. A few 
years after, the 'pout' disappeared, and the 'trout' returned. 
There was a furor ran through the country at one time of 
obtaining pearls from fresh-water clams. Some of respectable 
size and value were found in the clams in the Scantic. 

"Conveyances. — Lieut. Paul Langdon brought the first 
wagon into town. In 1784 there were but two two-horse 
wagons and five two-horse sleighs. In 1804 Jesse or Pliny 
Bliss introduced a one-horse wagon. First buffalo robe brought 
from Montreal, 1805; cost 5.00. 

"Inventions. — Lewis Langdon invented a machine for 
turning cider-mill screws; Walter Burt, shears for cutting the 

The History of Wilbraham 323 

nap of cloth. Edwin Chaffee, a native of this town, invented 
the use of India-rubber preparations for cloth. Probably this 
is the most important invention made by any of the natives 
of the town. 

"Vermin. — David Chapin brought the first rat to the town 
in a sack of wool from Rhode Island, and permitted it to live. 
Hence, rats in Wilbraham. 

"Stock. — Capt. Charles Sessions introduced Merino sheep, 
and had a large flock. Capt. Joseph Lathrop and sons intro- 
duced Saxon sheep and kept a large flock of several hundred. 
Improvement was not made in cattle till a later date. The 
breed of swine received earlier attention. 

"Names of Places, Mountains, Brooks, etc. — The North 
East Village long since outgrew its name of 'Sodom;' and the 
South Parish that of 'Pokeham;' and the South Village that of 
' the city.' The Goat Rocks were so called as being the favorite 
resort of William King's goats, one of which got entangled 
there, and was found dead. These rocks are a ledge about 
thirty feet perpendicular, at the south end of the North Moun- 
tains. Rocky Dundee was raany years ago the name of the 
region south of Burt's mill. Pole Bridge Brook was so called 
from the bridge flrst built over it; it was also called Beaver 
Brook, because the beavers had built a dam in it ; Twelve-mile 
Brook, because twelve miles from Springfield ; Nine-mile Pond, 
because nine miles from Springfield; Rattlesnake Peak, because 
a rattlesnake was killed there; Wigwam Hill from the Indian 
squaw's wigwam near it; Stony Hill, because it was stony; 
Peggy's Dipping Hole, because Peggy, in her desire to attend 
upon the means of grace furnished at Springfield, ventured, in 
her pilgrimage thither, to cross some recently-frozen ice and 
went through into the water." 


"An alarm was once raised in Wilbraham that the Indians 
were coming. It was on this wise: One Kibbe went into the 
woods on Sunday, to get his cow, and not having the fear of 
either God or the law before his eyes, he took with him his gun 
in case he should meet any game. Not long after he left home, 
the report of two guns was heard, and Kibbe came running 
back in great apparent trepidation, saying that he had been 

The History of Wilbkaham 

fired at by two Indians, and that there were more lurking in 
the woods. The whole country was alarmed, and the woods 
were scoured in search of the 'salvages.' None were foimd, 
nor were any traces of them discovered. Suspicion began to 
be excited that all was not right with Kibbe. A more particular 
examination of his shirt was instituted. He declared that he 
received one shot in his breast, and when he turned to run, 
another shot took him in his back. Lo, it was even so; a bullet- 
hole was made through his shirt before; another through his 
shirt behind. But alas for Kibbe's veracity, not for his com- 
fort, there was no hole into or through his body, where the 
bullet went ! He saw he was caught, and made confession that 
seeing game, he was tempted to fire ; that he at once bethought 
himself that he was exposed to prosecution for violating the 
Sabbath, and took off his shirt and fired through it, to make 
his neighbors believe that the Indians had attacked him. So 
originated and ended the only alarm of an attack on Wilbraham. 


"The collectors found it very difficult at times to get the 
taxes for the support of the gospel. In the early days of the 
precinct and town, the money for the support of religious 
services was raised by a tax assessed on the property of the 
precinct town or parish when there was but one church society. 
But as other denominations began to be formed, their members 
objected to paying any part of the expenses of the 'standing 
order;' and no little cunning, as well as spunk, was sometimes 
displayed in escaping payment. Abraham Avery was a promi- 
nent man in the town, a tanner and saddle and harness maker; 
a man of great energy, indomitable persistency, pious and 
plucky to admiration; from hair to heel a Methodist. He was 
cunning withal, and liked a practical joke, so be it was worthy 
of his religious profession. He owed a tax. He wouldn't pay 
it. The collector of the parish determined to have it. ' Get it 
then' said Avery. Now Avery could make a good saddle, — 
one that the Queen's horse-guards would be proud of in finish, 
and whose strength would have carried any one of the six 
hundred through the immortal charge of Balaklava. So, in his 
meditations, Avery determined to make a saddle to pay his 
tax withal. He selected the pieces of leather which best pleased 
the eye, and fitted them together as he well knew how, being a 
skilful worker in leather, and mounted it with shining metal, 
so that it was very tempting to look upon, like the forbidden 

The Histoet of Wilbraham 325 

fruit of Eden. Avery knew that the strength was not equal 
to the beauty thereof; but as it was not for sound doctrine he 
made it, so he delighted in correspondency. The collector 
came; the shop had been cleared of most of the finished work 
besides, and when he cast his eye upon the saddle he did covet 
it much for his taxes, and was much delighted when Avery 
declined to pay them. 'I must take this nice saddle, then,' 
said the publican. ' Take it then,' quoth Avery gruffly. It was 
taken. Avery's face was sparkling all over with delight as the 
constable put the prize in his wagon and drove off. It was sold 
at auction and brought a great price, far above the amount of 
the tax; for it was known that Avery's saddles were of the best. 
The constable offered the excess of the sale over the tax to 
Avery, but he would not take it. The constable tendered to him 
the balance in gold; Avery said he would have nothing to 
do with it. The saddle was purchased by a man from Belcher- 
town. He was tempted to try it early. It looked magnificently 
on his horse's back. He sprang upon it. Out came one stirrup ! 
down broke the seat! out came the bridge! off dropped the 
sides ! and he spake words of Avery and the saddle which were 
not lawful to be spoken, and should not be written. He came 
to Avery in great wrath, and asked him if he did not warrant 
his saddles. 'Certainly,' said Avery. 'Well, then,' he replied, 
'look at this saddle.' 'Ah' said Avery 'that is the "Presby- 
terian saddle," I have nothing to do with that.' And, with a 
relish of satisfaction, he again drew his strong waxed-end 
through the leather upon which he was at work, for he enjoyed 
hugely what had come to pass." 

Abraham Avery lived about a mile north of the center of our 
center village, where Ira G. Potter formerly lived, in the house 
now owned by Mr. Torrey. The tannery was at the next house 
north, formerly the Nathaniel Knowlton place, and now 
owned by 0. L. Milard. The harness shop was at the first 
house south, where Arthur Smith now lives. 


The following is taken from the Stebbins History published 
in 1864: 

"I am most happy to report that the beautiful scenery of 
Wilbraham has foimd an artist and a patron. I have seen and 

The Histoky of Wilbkaham 

been charmed by the two paintings described below, in an 
article taken from the Zion's Herald, Feb. 10, 1864. They are 
all that the critic describes them to be. I have also seen two 
others, just finished, of equal, if not greater, beauty. One is an 
auttrniti scene, taken from a little lower down the mountain 
than the first two were, and looking out over the plains to the 
Western Motmtains. The foliage -is admirably tinted, and the 
autumnal haze lies on the distant plains and mountains. 
The other is taken from the north end of Nine-mile Pond, 
the view being toward the south, the mountains forming the 
distant background of the picture. The execution is admira- 

"Wilbraham has many lovers of her scenery no less than of 
her school; but she has hitherto found no way of revealing her 
beauties to other eyes than those that have been fastened upon 
her. But she need lament her lot no longer. Two paintings, 
at Williams & Everett's gallery, in this city, proclaim her 
beauty to every eye. They were painted for Abraham Avery, 
of Boston, by Mr. Bricher, a young artist of great promise, and, 
judging from these works, of great achievement. The views 
are taken from a spot well-known to every Wilbraham student, 
— at the head of the upper grove that contains ' the pulpit ' on 
the road winding up the motmtain, behind the church. It is 
across the street from the little red cottage of the Goody Blake, 
of that neighborhood, whose 'hut was on the cold hill-side.' 
On the left of the picture are these favorite woods, the scene of 
many a prayer-meeting, oratorical explosion, lounging, reading, 
or musing solitaries, or of the law-breaking trysts of love's 
young dream. The trees are superbly painted, being full of 
rich color and shade. One could almost transport himself 
thither, they are so life-like and enchanting. But the eye must 
not linger in their gothic greenness, nor dwell too long upoii 
the truthfully-rough fields under the feet or on the little old 
cottage aforesaid, snugly tucked away in the hillside in the 
opposite comer. More familiar scenes below allure it. There 
creeps the street, its few houses sprinkled among the many 
trees, like white flowers blossoming on a green river. No stiller 
in the picture than in the fact is the pleasant old road. With 
pre-Raphaslite faithfulness the artist puts upon it no living 
creature, though he might have painted the aged grey postman 
with his aged grey horse, and still had it void of life, so ghostly 
is that sole animator of the seemingly-deserted village. The 
immense and not inartistic pile of the boarding-house, most 
inartistic though it be in location, is partially hidden by the 

The History of Wilbraham 329 

projecting woods behind the Academy hill, which grove pre- 
vents the sight of the Academy buildings. 

"Beyond lie the plains, patched with herbage, ploughed 
fields, trees and houses, and flecked with the shade and sun- 
shine of a midsummer day. A lover of nature could gaze on it 
for hours without weariness, a lover of Wilbraham with ever- 
increasing pleasure. 

"The companion picture gives us the north-western view 
from the same spot. The foreground is fictitious, in order to 
avoid repetition, though the rock in the left-hand comer is a 
veritable copy of the boulder perched upon the hill back of the 
house of J. Wesley Bliss Esq. (now the home of his daughter, 
Mrs. Gillett.) The woods in the foreground are more beautiful, 
if possible than those in the first picture. The outlook is true 
to the fact. The broad champaign, beautifully toned and 
varied, and relieved of its flatness, gathers to the gorge between 
Mounts Holyoke and Tom. These mountains are perfect even 
to the bits of houses that mar their summits. Through the 
opening is seen Northampton. The mountains rise behind her, 
and conclude the scene. 

"We understand that others are on the easel, representing 
the Nine-mile Pond, Glen, etc. The paintings attract much 
attention, and have been highly commended in the Transcript 
and the Gazette. We hope they and their forthcoming kindred 
will be engraved. The first, at least, should be as many a child 
of the Old Wesleyan will wish it, on his walls. The thanks of 
all her ten thousand children, more or less, will assuredly be 
given to the munificence of the gentleman who ordered the 
works, as well as to the artist who executed them." 


The newspapers of Springfield and Boston gave generous 
space, both before and after the anniversary, to the accotuits 
of the celebration, and published many illustrations of historical 
places and of the floats that appeared in the pageant. 

330 The Histoby of Wilbkaham 

The following is a condensed copy of some of the accounts. 



Chauncey E. Peck Gives Historical Address — Loan 
Exhibition of Much Interest 

Wilbraham, Tuesday June 17, 1913. 
"Not one of the inhabitants of Wilbraham or any of the 
hundreds of outsiders who visited the town today will ever 
forget the day or the place. It was the real official opening of 
the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Wilbraham as a 
town and every one from far and near turned out to do justice 
to the day and its significance. The population of the town for 
the day was swelled to double its normal size and not a single 
person can doubt for a moment but that today was the biggest, 
best and busiest day in the whole history of Wilbraham and, 
indeed, it may be safely asserted that no other New England 
town of its size has ever held an affair that could surpass it. 
Beginning early in the morning, when the long parade first 
formed, and lasting until the last speech had been delivered in 
the late afternoon and the farmers had filed over the hills to 
their homes in their wagons and automobiles, there was not a 
single untoward incident to mar a perfect day. 

"The Community Enthusiasm 

"Wilbraham truly "did herself proud.' To many of the 
visitors it seemed inconceivable that a comparatively small 
town could arrange and execute such a program as that of 
today. It would have been a credit to any city, irrespective of 
size. Perhaps, though, the lack of inhabitants was more than 
made up for by the feeling of comradeship and town pride that 
has ever distinguished this little fastness among the Wilbraham 
mountains. The difficulties of the big cities in arousing universal 

The History of Wilbhaham 331 

enthusiasm were unknown to Wilbraham. Here every man, 
woman and child turned out for the celebration, and, what is 
more, has been working steadily for weeks in preparation for it. 
It was a magnificent spectacle and example of what community 
feeling can do when it once sets itself about it. 

"Yet the credit must not go wholly to the town of Wilbraham 
itself, no matter how deserving it may be. Part of it belongs to 
the sister community of Hampden, which but a few short years 
ago, reckoning years in comparison with those of the town's 
existence, was an integral part of Wilbraham. When Hampden 
separated from Wilbraham her inhabitants did not lose their 
feeling for the older community and today they showed their 
gratitude, and feeling of kinship by joining in with the celebra- 
tion heart and sovil. Many of the floats in the big parade were 
engineered and gotten up by Hampden people. 

"Then, too, there must be credit given to the former inhabit- 
ants who came for many miles in trollies and automobiles to 
see the old town once more and renew acquaintance with old 
friends. Court square in Springfield was a general meeting 
place for these, and the Palmer and Worcester cars were packed 
with people, each exclaiming, 'Why, there's George. I haven't 
seen him since we went to the Glendale school together,' or 
'You haven't changed a bit, Mary, since we were in Mr. 
Howard's class at the old Sunday-school.' When these people 
had reached the point where they had to leave the cars it was a 
different Wilbraham and yet the same Wilbraham that met 
their gaze from that which they had last known. There was 
hardly a house but boasted gay streamers and decorations of 
red, white and blue in honor of the big day. The road from 
North Wilbraham to Wilbraham Street was a blaze of color, 
rivaling, if not surpassing, any attempts at decoration in the 
big cities on a 'safe and sane' Fourth of July. Wilbraham 
street, as the Center is called was perhaps the brightest as 
indeed it had good reason to be. Today's celebration was for 
the benefit of this part of the town. Tomorrow will see the 
festivities move to North Wilbraham and Thursday, the 
closing day of the carnival will give Glendale, the third sec- 
tion, a chance to show what it pan do. 

"The Parade 

"It was promptly at 9 o'clock in the morning that the Wil- 
braham-street section of the parade formed for its trip to North 
Wilbraham. Soon it had reached that point and was joined 

332 The History of Wilbeaham 

by the floats that had formed at North Wilbraham. Then the 
parade retracing the way to Wilbraha.m street, down to the 
' Mile Tree ' and back, and ending at the judges' stand in front 
of the Methodist church, almost opposite Rich hall of Wilbra- 
ham academy. All along the way, in front of the houses gay 
with bunting, sat family groups, many of which had not been 
reunited for years, but the biggest crowd was around the 
judges' stand where several hundred people had gathered to 
witness the parade from the most advantageous point possible. 
"When the procession did come in sight it was worth any 
kind of a wait. Down the long street, well in advance, came 
the automobile of the marshal, J. M. Perry of the Cutler com- 
pany, and directly behind him appeared the Brightside band 
of 31 pieces, each small boy tooting away for dear life and 
helping to create a decidedly favorable impression. Then on 
horse-back came the assistant marshals, Harold BoUes, William 
V. Baldwin, Peter Gebo, and Mr. Stevens, with the aid of their 
prancing horses, holding the floats at the proper distance apart, 
and generally superintending the affair to see that all went 
well. And then came the great body of the parade, decorated 
automobiles in the lead, and followed by the historical floats, 
decorated floats, decorated carriages and some miscellaneous 
floats. Truly it was a great sight. 

"The Automobile Section 

"Among the automobiles that led the procession were those 
containing the guests of honor, former Senator W. Murray 
Crane of Dalton, members of the town governments of Wil- 
braham and Hampden, and for the city of Springfield, the 
mother colony, five members of the city government. Alderman 
Henry Lasker and John G. Maxfield and Councilmen George 
W. Pike, William B. Sleigh and Nelson W. Haskell and also 
Emmett Hay Naylor, secretary of the Springfield board of 
trade, and Charles C. Spellman of the board of Hampden 
CoTinty commissioners. There were about 20 of the automo- 
biles in the parade, each decorated with paper streamers and 
flowers and with the chauffeurs sitting up straight and stiff in 
the hope of doing what they could to win the prizes that the 
judges awarded to this part of the exhibition. The first award 
for decorated automobiles went to J. M. Perry, whose car 
presented a beautiful appearance with streamers and festoons 
of light blue with wreaths of blue and white flowers draped- 
along the side. Almost as lovely as this was the appearance 




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334 The History of Wilbeaham 

presented by the car owned by Ernest Thompson, which was 
handsomely decorated along the same lines with pink and 
white. Not one of the cars but stood a good show for a prize, 
and it was only after long deliberation that the judges arrived 
at their decision. 

"The Historical Division 

"It was the aim of the historical division of the parade to 
trace the history of the town of Wilbraham and incidentally of 
Hampden by the floats used. This they succeeded in accom- 
plishing in excellent manner. At the head came an automobile 
containing Anson Soule in the guise of an old town crier, and 
the executive committee. Mr. Soule's six feet three inches of 
hight, 230 pounds of weight, and eighty-two years of age, all 
clad in the garb of an ancient pilgrim, and his constant ringing 
of a big bell and proclamation of 'Hear ye, hear ye' attracted 
to him the considerable notice and appreciation that was his 
due. A mere glance at him carried one back 300 years and it 
was only the sight of the automobile that made one remember 
that this is the 20th century and not the 17th. 

" 'Purchasing the land from the Indians,' the first float in 
the division of the parade, represented the purchasing of the 
mountain part of the town from the Indians. It was a master- 
piece from start to finish, and no one could have raised a dis- 
senting voice against the opinions of the judges who awarded 
it the first prize. Myron Luther Bruuer conceived the float, 
which was drawn by six horses driven by Raymond Pease. 
In the background stood a realistic wigwam surrounded by 
pines and in front of this were grouped a number of men in 
colonial clothes, clinching the bargain with several Indians, 
all of whom looked good enough to be real. The hand of the 
old blind chief was guided by his daughter as it tracpd the 
characters giving the land to the settlers, for tradition says 
that the chief was blind and that his daughter was both his 
hand and his eye. Among those who were on the float were 
F. A. Gumey, Miss Katherine Beebe, Allen Robb, and Wilbur 

" 'The first settlers,' the next float in line, depicted the first 
settlers of 1731, their rude log cabin with the pot containing the 
dinner steaming away in front of the hut. Two men were just 
returning from their work, and their wives waited for them in 
front of the cabin, while a small child played on the ground, 
apparently oblivious of anything except the fact that he was 

The History of Wilbeaham 

really and truly the child of those early inhabitants who built 
the foundations for the Wilbraham of today. Charles Hitch- 
cock was the originator of this float, and one of the women on 
the float was Mrs. Charles Hitchcock. 

" 'The last of the race' came directly behind 'The first 
settlers' and contained the old squaw who made famous 
Wigwam hill by living there long after her race had taken the 
long trail to the West. C. C. Beebe was the squaw and acted 
the part in realistic fashion. He sat crouched in front of his 
wigwam, his eyes turned to the ground and brooding over the 
glories of the dead past. Round after round of applause 
greeted this float, for it was well known that Mr. Beebe had 
conceived and carried out the idea almost at the last moment, 
when everyone else had given up the problem, despairing of 
getting anything that would be adequate to what was wanted. 
The setting was worthy of a professional stage manager, and 
Mr. Beebe showed himself an accomplished actor in his part. 
Back of the wigwam were the skulls of two steers, and in front 
was all the paraphernalia that goes to make life in an Indian 
camp. Very deservingly the judges awarded the second prize 
to this float. 

" 'The first meeting house' came next. This float was the 
work of Edwin C. Powell and was a triumph of itself. The 
meeting house stood at the rear of the float and in front of it 
was the good old parson, who on ordinary days is George 
Capen, exhorting his flock, which consisted of Mrs. F. A. 
Bodurtha, Mrs. Mandana Moseley and Mrs. John Pease. A 
little behind this float, came another 'flrst minister' the r61e 
being taken by Henry Green, who was driving to church with 
a chaise that looked every day of 1000 years old, but only 
guaranteed some 100 years or more. 

" ' Past and present,' the next float, represented the 17th 
century and the 20th. Nearly everything was found here, 
including all industries from the old hand spiiming to the 
modem methods of today. The Puritan women aboard found 
themselves in strange company for beside them was a Wilbra- 
ham academy youth in striped blazer coat and white flannel 
trousers making ardent love to a debutante of the date of 1913. 
Among those on the float were W. H. McGuire, Mrs. Eva 
Gumey, Miss Maud Hubbard, Mr. and Mrs. Hardy and Miss 
Marjorie BoUes. 

" The 'minutemen of 1913' brought the recollection of 
spectators to recent years when these same minutemen did 

The History of Wilbbaham 337 

yeoman service in putting out the forest fire that threatened 
the town a year ago. 

"One of the most interesting floats was the one depicting 
the old home industries with a cheese press and shoemaking 
establishment going at full speed, and women engaged in the 
old arts of knitting and braiding at the sides of the wagon. 

"Wilbraham academy likewise had an interesting one with 
the goddess of learning in the guise of Mrs. Alfred Gustafson, 
wife of one of the -teachers, mounted on a purple throne and 
disseminating knowledge to two youthful pupils in cap and 

"Every school in Wilbraham and Hampden was repre- 
sented. District No. 7, once taught by A. J. Blanchard, had 
an excellent float and a number of Mr. Blanchard's old pupils 
had gathered from far and near to ride in it, and thus do honor 
to the memory of their old master. On the side was an old 
blackboard 75 years of age which was the only one used in the 
early days. Mary Newell's school was also represented by a 
fine float, and No. 5; 'the smallest but most important' and 
the second oldest in the town, had a placard on the side stating 
that it had been taught by Master Ezra Barker. 

"There were several old chaises dating back as far as 1793, 
and 1811. One labeled 'Ancient Days' enabled the Day family 
to act out a pun on their name, for in the old carryall sat 
Clinton C. and Morton L.' Day and Mrs. Elvira C. (Day) 

"F. W. Green's old stagecoach attracted much attention and 
was well loaded with passengers, inside and out. 

"The manner in which wives used to ride behind their 
husbands was represented by two boys riding a pony, Wallace 
Ripley and EUery Gebo in the guise of the first minister and his 
bride on their way to church. 

"Business Floats 

"One of the best was that of the Ludlow mantifacturing 
associates which won first prize, by a float with a 'breaker 
card ' machine in full operation showing how sacking and other 
products are mantifactured from jute. 

"Second prize went to the Cutler company with a float 
heaped high with barrels and bags of flour. 

"The Collins manufacturing company also had an attractive 
float decorated mostly in white, and showing a huge pyramid 
of their fine papers. 

The History of Wilbraham 339 

" ' To Church — 1741— Wigwam Hill.' Oxcart, driven by 
Amos Merrill with gtm over his shoulder, carrying Florence 
Lee, AUena Kibbe and Melba Moore. 

" ' Dec. 16, 1773.' The British ship Dartmouth, with 
William Vyne Sessions, Robert and Paul Sessions, and Robert 
Vizard throwing the tea overboard, all descendants of Robert 
Sessions, South Wilbraham's representative at the Tea Party. 
Driver E. J. Thresher. 

" ' The First Schoolhouse.' Arranged by Kenia Carew 
after the plan of the first Scantic school; teacher, Herbert H. 
Thresher; pupils, Kenia Carew, Ruth Pike, Hazel and Mildred 
Pease, Austin Harris and Neil Kibbe; driver, Arthur Pease. 

" ' Dividing the Town— March 28, 1878.' Third prize 
winner; prepared by C. L. Kibbe; Russell Kibbe and Harry 
Lyons sawing a log in two. before a map of the two towns; 
driver, Ralph Lyons. 

" 'Old Agriculture' prepared for the Hampden Grange by 
Mrs. McCray and Mrs. Sessions; drawn by two yoke of oxen; 
driver, D. L. McCray: other participants, Mrs. Lena Keeney, 
Willie McCray, J. J. Flynn. 

" 'New Agriculture' a grange float prepared by Mrs. Bolter 
and Mr. Wait ; a small orchard planted on one of W. J. Mackay's 
Mt. Vision fruit farm wagons ; attendants Mrs. Bolter and Mrs. 
Dickinson; driver, Harry Dickinson. 

"Two floats with Grammar School children carr5dng the 
flags of Hampden's 42 college graduates. Float for No. 2 
decorated with daisies by Miss Fay and Grace Pease. Driver 
W. W. Leach. The other schools were carried by E. P. Lyons. 

"Primary children on F. T. Kellogg's auto truck. A. G. 
Corey's store planned by Frank Perry; Mr. Corey in charge; 
clerks, Mabel Davis, Arlene Howlett, Mary Williams, Esther 
Bradbury, Frank Perry, Eddy Leddy and Raymond Kibbe; 
driver, C. N. Whittaker. 

"H. L. Handy, auto truck carrying 'Sir Mustard' a prize 
ox, whose father and mother came from Guernsey. Ruth 
Merrill beside the driver. 

" ' Spotted Float'— Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Isham, driving a 
wagon loaded with different kinds of spotted animals. 

" 'White Poultry.' Driven by George Chapin, decorated 
with hundreds of his prize ribbons, with the help of Miss Fay 
and Miss Pease. 

"Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Kibbe in an old two-wheeler, Mr. and 
Mrs. C. I. Burleigh in Deacon Sumner Session's old carriage, 
and Francis Eldridge and Florence Loomis and Helen Kibbe in 


The History of Wilbeaham 

another vehicle of the olden times, all dressed in costumes of 
150 years ago. 

"At 12.30 o'clock dinner was served to about 500 in the 
academy gymnasium by the Barr catering company. As guests 
of honor, on either side of Chairman C. C. Spellman, sat former 
Senator W. Murray Crane and Principal Douglass of the acade- 
my. Also at that table were the Springfield City officials and 
the anniversary committee. 

"After the dinner a large audience assembled at 2.30 in the 
Methodist church, which was handsomely decorated. Marshall 


J. M. Perry introduced Charles C. Spellman, chairman of the 
County Commissioners of Hampden County, as the presiding 
chairman. Mr. Spellman spoke briefly in appreciation of the 
honor conferred upon him, paying tribute to former Senator 
Crane, who, while himself a native of Dalton, has always taken 
an interest in Wilbraham, because his grandmother, Lucinda 
Brewer, was born here. Prayer was offered by Rev. Martin 
S. Howard. Then the school children sang 'The Breaking 
Waves Dashed High.' 

"Alderman Lasker, in behalf of Mayor Denison of Springfield, 
who was unable to be present, brought the greetings of the 
Mother Springfield to her Daughter Wilbraham. He pointed 
out that the interests of Springfield are the same as those of 

The History of Wilbraham 341 

the towns roundabout. Wilbraham he deemed to be one of the 
most beautiful of these, and it was with due appreciation of 
the privilege that he counted himself among those present. 
Brief remarks of a congrattilatory character were made by one 
of the selectmen of Hampden, and by William R. Sessions. 
The chairman then, with some complimentary remarks, intro- 
duced the chairman of the historical committee, to give the 
Historical Address, which occupied more than one hour and 
a half, and is included in the foregoing History. 
"The Address closed with these words; 


"We enter upon a new period of fifty years. Let us so live 
that those who come after us will honor our memory as we 
honor that of our fathers'. Let us strive to make ourselves 
better, to make Wilbraham better, and so help to make the 
world better. 

"The Loan Exhibit 

"Columns of appreciation and description might be written 
about the loan exhibit which was held in Grange hall where a 
number of old and interesting relics were displayed. Com- 
munion sets used at the Congregational Church from the very 
earliest times. One presented by Dea. Nathaniel Warriner, 
and loaned by Mrs. Brewer. There were also sets used by the 
Methodist church, the Glendale church and Grace church at 
North Wilbraham. Old china loaned by Mrs. Nesmith, a 
compass belonging to Mr. Newell of Hampden which was used 
in 1729, a watch, still ruiming, dated 1638, owned by G. S. 
Atchinson, collection of old firearms dating from the 16th 
century and loaned by W. A. Newton, Indian relics picked up 
in Wilbraham by B. F. Green, and a raised map of Hampden 
made by Rev. C. B. Bliss. There was a fine collection of rare 
old quilts and coverlets, homemade linen and flax, oil paintings, 
a chest 200 years old, a wooden shaving case dated 1767, a 
hand trunk 200 years old owned by Myron L. Bruuer's grand- 
father, faficy work, china and old books, a part from Hampden; 
an old tea chest brought here in 1776, a very old and exceedingly 
valuable copper luster teapot, and a hymn book dating from 
1780, loaned by Mrs. C. E. Pease, a collection of ancient Bibles 
and other books from Rev. M. S. Howard, a leather pouch 
used in the Revolutionary War, two old drums, one carried in 

342 The Histoey of Wilbraham 

the war of 1812, owned by George Knowlton, and the other by 
Almond Laird, a hand netted tester used on a four-posted bed, 
and several chairs dating back more than a century. 

"During the day Rich hall of Wilbraham Academy was 
thrown open for inspection and many took the opportunity to 
view the changes that have been made there'. Principal Gay- 
lord W. Douglass was on the premises most of the day and 
several of the academy boys were delegated to show the visitors 
around. The new dining room, library and sleeping rooms for 
the boys were all looked over and all the visitors expressed 
great admiration at the changes that had been wrought. 




"Wilbraham, June 18, 1913. — Ideal weather again greeted 
Wilbraham residents, present and past, on the second day of 
the 160th anniversary of the incorporation of the town. Today's 
celebration was held in North Wilbraham, where the Cutler 
public library was publicly dedicated and formally opened with 
thoughtful addresses by Librarian Wilcox of the Holyoke City 
Library and by Rev. Dr. William R. Newhall of Lynn. An 
address by J. T. Bowne of the Y. M. C. A. college faculty on 
'The Indians in and about Wilbraham,' the presentation of 
the floral cantata, 'The Floral Queen,' in the gardens of Mrs. 
H. W. Cutler, and a loan exhibition in the library building 
were other features of the day. 

"The attendance to the celebration proper was swelled by 
hundreds of automobilists, largely from Springfield, who came 

The History of Wilbraham 


to participate in the annual outing of the Springfield Automobile 
club in Wilbraham. The Brightside band again gave several 
concerts during the day. 

"The North Wilbraham library, which was formally opened 
today, is a handsome two-story house, with French roof, the 
gift to the town of the late Henry Cutler, who came to Wil- 
braham in 1877 and was one of its most enterprising and 
public-spirited citizens and business men. 

"On the ground floor the front room will be used as a reading 


room and the room in the rear for the books, of which there is 
already a large collection in the present library building. 

"Rev. William Lewis Jennings, pastor of Grace Union 
church, presided at the opening of the building at 11 o'clock, 
first introducing the aged pastor of Wilbraham street. Rev. 
Martin S. Howard, who, in his prayer of dedication, besought 
Providence to look with divine favor upon this endeavor to 
provide young people with the lofty companionship of books 
and magazines of the best type. 

"Before presenting the keys of the library to the trustees, 
Mr. Jennings referred to the public institutions existing in our 

344 The History of Wilbraham 

own country, among the most beneficial of which he classed 
the public library, now considered indispensable even in the 
small town, which will have a traveling library even if it cannot 
afford a permanent one. It is a pleasing t"hought that in these 
country and social centers, boys and girls are meeting with the 
army of noble men who through their written words have 
helped to develop the world's life. One of the best adjuncts of 
a library is its reading room, where young people gather to 
read and study. 

"Turning to Dr. A. L. Damon, one of the trustees, Mr. 
Jennings presented the key of the building in behalf of the 
heirs of Mr. Cutler, the donor, expressing the fond hope that 
the building would be placed to the best uses. 

"Librarian Wilcox, the first speaker on the program, said 
that he could not see what he could add to the joy of those who 
were now about to enjoy the use of this beautiful building. He 
said that the happiness, comfort and joy of a good library can 
only be known by those who have experienced it; this is an 
unfailing blessing lasting from early days until the close of life. 
Mr. Wilcox then pictured what North Wilbraham will be 50 
years from now, on the occasion of another centennial anni- 
versary. In closing the speaker said that he knew that every 
librarian in the state will be thrilled as he reads that another 
small town is rejoicing in the progress of its library, entering 
into a building of its own. He said that North Wilbraham was 
indeed forttmate, for not all larger places are equally blessed; 
for example, his own town did not have a library building of its 
own until it had attained a population of 40,000. 

"Miss Ida F. Farrar, assistant at the Springfield City library, 
brought greetings from the Springfield library and told of the 
benefits derived from libraries in some of the towns that she 
had visited. She advised the children to look forward in 
appreciation of what the library might do for them. 

"Rev. Mr. Legg Applauded 

"Rev. H. F. Legg of Wilbraham Center created applause by 
his fervid sentiment that 'Wilbraham is the best town in the 
best state of the best country in the world.' He said that he 
was more proud each day of the fact that he lived in Wilbra- 
ham and he was thoroughly confident that a bright future 
awaited the new library. 

"Rev. William R. Newhall has many friends in Wilbraham 
through his long and successful connection with the academy 

The Histoby of Wilbkaham 


and was heard with pleasure. In opening his address on 'The 
Place of the Library in the Country Town,' Dr. Newhall 
expressed his delight to be home again and to look back over 
the old trails with his friends and former neighbors. He said 


that he thanked God that the history of a New England town 
is always essentially a religious history and instanced as one 
of the best types of a New England town, the late Henry 
Cutler, donor of the library, whose compact figure, keen eye, 
pleasant smile and kindly sympathy, he said came before him. 
He was a good neighbor and a public spirited citizen and this 

346 The History of Wilbkaham 

library, his gift, this 'house by the side of the road' was like 
himself, a friend to all the land. 

"Coming to his subject. Dr. Newhall said he was glad of that 
most New England institution, the covintry town. He loved 
the country, he said, and particularly old Wilbraham, which 
decorated with her 150 years, never looked so beautiful. The 
public library is to have a permanent place here because the 
country town is to have a permanent place in the land. The 
great changes that have come are not altogether for the worse 
nor peculiar to the town. True the children who play over 
the stone wall perchance now speak a language learned over 
the sea and everywhere there is change, but the immigrant 
is our guest, and is to be welcomed. The country town will be 
able to maintain its place. For example Wilbraham has main- 
tained in the 150 years of her existence certain institutions 
indispensable to a free people — the school which stands for 
instruction, the church which stands for righteousness, the 
state which stands for rights and the home which stands for 
affection. Here, the speaker referred to the leadership of the 
veteran pastor. Rev. Mr. Howard and his leadership in 

"The library is the institution of intelligence. It does not 
compete with the church, the school, the town meeting, the 
home. The library in modem life is an indispensable institu- 
tion; it is not the fifth wheel in the coach but like the fifth 
wheel in the auto, it must necessarily be provided. All four 
institutions reach their best life as the library is opened. 
The library does largely help the schoolhouse. It reaches 
out a helping hand to the school and as the pupil reads the 
best books he wins promotion in study. The library helps 
the home and the man who studies books along his line of 
work is fitting himself thereby for a higher, more lucrative 

"Library a Yankee Notion 

"Tracing the growth of the library, Dr. Newhall reminded 
that the modem library is a Yankee notion and the effort of 
Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia to start a real library for 
the good of the people was. described and praised. Libraries 
were scarce indeed up to 1800 and about that date in Hartford 
gifts for a public library were asked because books helped and 
should be circulated. The American library leads the world 
and two great words stand out prominently in its vocabulary 
— accessibility and accountability. 

The History of Wilbkaham 347 

"In closing Dr. Newhall said that while the North Wilbra- 
ham library was not a pretentious building and not crowded 
with books, it was a modem library and better fitted to quicken 
the intelligence than the old libraries such as were found on 
the banks of the Nile. 

"At 12 o'clock in a large tent across from the library the 
Barr catering company served dinner to about 200 persons, and 
at 2 o'clock Prof. J. T. Bowne spoke on 'The Indians of Wil- 
braham.' In his address Dr. Bowne used as illustrations for 
accurate descriptions of the implements and articles made by 
the Indians, a large case of collections of Indian relics gathered 
for the most part by B. F. Greene of Wilbraham, who for many 
years has been collecting curiosities of this character. Dr. 
Bowne described the life that the Massachusetts Indian led 
nearly 300 years ago along the old Bay path where he had his 
villages or camps. An interesting description of a journey 
undertaken by John Winthrop, Jr., from Boston westward in 
1645 was given, and the kindliness of the Indians met with. 
Their houses or huts, apparel, ornaments, food, utensils, 
weapons, hospitality to strangers were all accurately portrayed 
and also the astonishment with which they must have witnessed 
the evidences of civilization as given by the whites. 

"Cantata is Given 

"A large crowd assembled at 3 o'clock to witness the beauti- 
ful cantata, 'The Flower Queen,' by 30 young girls, all prettily 
attired in gay costumes and carrying flowers of the season. 
The cantata was given on the spacious grounds adjoining the 
home of Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Cutler and Mrs. Cutler was in 
charge of the cantata, which was a most complete success. A 
young woman representing a recluse disgusted with the world 
was depicted as finding in a garden where fragrant flowers grew, 
helpful lessons of unselfishness and purity. As the young 
woman beheld the crowning of the queen of the flowers she was 
led to see that true preferment comes unsought and through 
service to others. Esther Bell was the May queen, Verena 
Griswold took the part of the recluse, and Mrs. Alice Hoyt was 
mistress of ceremonies. Among those impersonating the 
flowers were Esther Calkins as a dandelion ; Edith Roberts the 
crocus; Mrs. Lillian Dickinson, the lily; Ruth Bell. a violet; 
Dora LaBroad, the sunflower; Mrs. Ethel Bradway, the 
chrysanthemimi, while many little girls acted the parts of 
poppies and fairies. 

348 The Histoby of Wilbbaham 

"The loan exhibit which was held in the library all day, 
while naturally not as large as the one seen in Wilbraham the 
day previous, was large and decidedly interesting, completely 
filling three rooms on the ground floor. There was a sideboard 
handed down in the Warren family from Col. John Bliss, who 
was bom in 1727, a fireplace presented to the library by Miss 
E. 0. Beebe, pots and kettles of old-fashioned make, many 
articles belonging to Mrs. W. F. Morgan, tapestry coverlets, 
school books, bills of ancient date, old trunks, guns, china, 
pictures, pikes carried by John Brown's men, medicine chest, 
wearing apparel, and Indian-made buckskin coat loaned 
by Miss Beebe, kitchen utensils, chairs, chests and old 

"Among those who contributed to make the exhibit such a 
success were Mrs. Maria Baldwin, the Woodward family, G. 
M. Greene, Mrs. N. I. Bradway, the Collins family, Mrs. A. L. 
Bell, Mrs. D. C. Griswold, Mrs. H. M. Green, Mrs. Stephen 
Fiske, Mrs. Carlos Alden, J. M. Perry, Mrs. Emma A. Mowry, 
Mrs. C. F-. Fuller, Lila Atchinson and others." 

Veterans Unveil Massive Boulder 

Wilbraham Pays Tribute to War Heroes 
in Closing Day's Exercises 


Beebe Collection in Old Mixter' Tavern Attracts 
Many Visitors 

"Wilbraham, June 20, 1913 — Glendale with its grassy glen 
and dale, its historic church, ancient homes near by, gay with 
bimting, and its massive boulder, on which were lettered in 
bronze the names of its war heroes, presented a scene not soon 
to be forgotten. To add to the charm of the picture a goodly 

The History of Wilbraham 349 

company of Civil war veterans came to lift the Stars and Stripes 
from their comrades' monument, school children from district 
No. 7 sang, and recited patriotic selections, or assisted in the 
pageant and a large nimiber of former residents by their kindly 
words of greeting helped to give a real old home character to 
the celebratiori. Springfield, the mother of Wilbraham, was 
well represented by Dr. Marshall Calkins, a former resident, 
who though 85 years old in a few days, is wonderfully well 
preserved, and by William R. Sessions, also formerjy of Wil- 
braham. There were many from Springfield drawn to the 
celebration by ties of kinship. Many distinguished men and 
women have come from Glendale. Close by on the Munsell place 
was bom Chief Justice Marcus P. Knowlton, and Dr. Calkins 
was bom very near the huinble district school. Many others 
might be mentioned who, now scattered widely, are proud to 
acknowledge Glendale as their birth place, as their letters of 
regret read by Miss Beebe after dinner testified. 

"The exercises of the morning opeijed at 11 o'clock at the 
boulder with selections by the local band. Then the school 
children of district No. 7 assisted by A. M. Seaver and Miss 
F. M. Moore, teacher of No. 7, sang a welcome. B. F. Greene, 
the presiding officer, said that he wished to thank the women 
especially for their part in furnishing meals and in other ways 
encouraging the men of the neighborhood in getting out the 
boulder and in setting it in place. Rev. W. L. Jennings offered 
prayer and as the two flags that covered the boulder were 
lifted the children sang 'The Star Spangled Banner.' 

"The first speaker to be introduced was William R. Sessions, 
who expressed his regret that Dr. George Fuller of Monson, 
who was to have given an address, was ill. 

"Mr. Sessions said in part: "This is the 150th anniversary 
of the incorporation of the old town of Wilbraham. You people 
of Glendale have arranged to celebrate the time by a neighbor- 
hood observance and have coupled with it the unveiling of a 
tablet to the memory of soldiers of the war that gave to these 
United States their independence, and also of the soldiers of 
the war that preserved the tmion of states.' This is certainly 
a wise and patriotic arrangement. Wilbraham has always 
been conspicuous for its readiness to do its fidl share in 
the support of the government, particularly in the time of 

" 'At the time of the old French war the neighborhood 
furnished a generous quota of men. Twenty years afterward 


The History of Wilbeaham 



The History of Wilbraham 351 

when the town was only 12 years old came the war of the 
Revolution. At least 36 men of Wilbraham turned out on a 
minute's notice at the Lexington alarm and marched on foot to 
the scene of conflict. More than 50 marched to the Bennington 
alarm. Wilbraham had in 1860 a population of 2081 : she sent 
to the war 223 men or just about one soldier for each nine 
inhabitants. These 223 men from Wilbraham were 26 in excess 
of all calls, so that when the war closed this town had furnished 
all the men called for by the government and had a credit of 
26 already in the service. The town with a valuation of 
$842,000 expended $25,000 for war purposes. Besides the 
$25,000 expended by the town there were large sums raised 
by women's soldiers' aid societies. 

" 'In this hasty manner I have tried to give an idea of 
conditions, during the Civil war. The war was in full blast 
at the time of the centennial of Wilbraham 50 years ago and 
little space was given to it in the historical address on that 
occasion; hence I have deemed this effort to be not out of 

"Referring to some of the men from Wilbraham who have 
been most conspicuous, Mr. Sessions first instanced John Bliss, 
who came into Wilbraham from Longmeadow about the year 
1750, served in the old French war, was selectman many 
terms, member of the provincial Congress, representative in 
the General Court, judge of the court of common pleas and 
had a fine Revolutionary war record. Col. Bliss has only one 
descendant living in Wilbraham. One of his daughters manied 
the first minister of the South parish. Rev. Moses Warren, and 
Fred A. Warren of North Wilbraham is his great-great-grand- 
son. Mr. Bliss left no son but one of his daughters married 
Edward Morris, whose son. Judge Oliver B. Morris of Spring- 
field, the long time judge of probate for Hampden Coimty, was 
John Bliss' grandson and Henry Morris, son of Oliver B. 
Morris, who was judge of Mass. court of common pleas, was 
his great-grandson. George Morris, son of Oliver B., who was 
clerk of courts of this county for many years, was his great- 
great-grandson. He served as clerk of courts until his death, 
when he was succeeded by his son, the present clerk of courts, 
Robert 0. Morris, who is a great-great-grandson of John Bliss 
of Wilbraham. E. B. Maynard was bom in Wilbraham and 
served for years as judge of the superior court. 

" 'Our most conspicuous real son,' said Mr. Sessions, 'is 


The Histoky of Wilbraham 

Marcus P. Knowlton, who was bom in this neighborhood of 
Wilbraham, of Wilbrahani bom parents. He was for years a 
justice of the superior coiirt, promoted to the supreme court 
and then to be chief justice.' 

" Dr. Marshall Calkins whose naine is a household word with 
Glendale people, followed, and in a short address showed how 
fitting it is that nations should honor their dead with monu- 


ments. He closed by reading a list of the names of the soldiers 
from Glendale as they appear on the boulder. 

"Dr. Marshall Calkins' Speech * 

"Dr. Calkins said: 'The study of evolution and history 
shows a gradual progress during thousands of years and the 
most intelligent peoples have erected monuments and artistic 
tombs to perpetuate the memories of those who have been of 

The History of Wilbbaham 


great service to their country. Monuments as well as history 
show that the English people have been in the advance. In 
colonizing they have the best success — ^in the Western hemi- 
sphere the Pilgrim and Puritan have shown their mental and 
physical superiority — ;this fact is shown by our genealogy at 
the present time, as most of our ancestors and soldiers are 
descendants of the English and Anglo-Saxon stock. Heredity 
shows its power. The names on our boulder are reliable 
witnesses. Most of them are descendants of the Puritans and 
trace their pedigree back to periods between the 12th and 18th 
centuries. As illustrative fact, the number of soldiers serving 
in our wars imder the Calkins name is 430 during our short 
history. This fact is established by the military records. No 
doubt under other names the proportion of soldiers to popula- 
tion may be even greater. The names on our boidder show 
this probability.' 


'Anti-Slavery Demonstration 

"The children then sang 'The Prison Cell' and as they were 
closing, the audience was surprised to see coming down the 
hill, pursued by men, old time slaves, who, just as they were 
about to be seized by their masters, were rescued by Glendale 
people and borne away in safety. This was intended to typify 

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The History of Wilbeaham 355 

just such scenes as occurred in the North 60 years ago when 
Glendale was said to be a famous underground railroad station. 
Then there were recitations and more singing by the children, 
and at 12 o'clock the women of Glendale served a most excellent 
dinner in the church, which was partaken of by 200 people. 
Miss E. O. Beebe was toastmistress at the after-dinner speaking 
and among those who spoke briefly were representatives of the 
Connecticut Valley Historical society, former residents, the 
resident pastors and stimmer guests. 

"Original poems were read by Mrs. J. E. T. Dowe and Mrs. 
Edith Miniter of Boston, and many letters of regret were read 
by Miss' Beebe. 

"Fine Exhibition of Antiques 

"Following the exercises in the church a large number of the 
visitors present repaired to the old Mixter tavern, a mile up the 
road, where was displayed from 2 to 8 o'clock what William F. 
Adams, president of the Connecticut Valley Historical society 
pronounces one of the best exhibits of its kind in the state. 
Indeed, as an illustration of the life of the common people in 
the olden time it is undoubtedly the best in Massachusetts. 
The collection bears the name of the Beebe collection, named 
for Miss E. O. Beebe, who for years has been treasiiring antiques 
used and passed on by her ancestors. At the time of Spring- 
field's 275th anniversary Miss Beebe kindly loaned her collec- 
tion to the Connecticut Valley Historical society as a part of 
its notable exhibit in the First church parish house. 

"The exhibit yesterday was so large that it occupied prac- 
tically the entire space in five large rooms and the piazza. One 
room was filled with rare old china, another with needle craft, 
while in a chamber upstairs was displayed articles in use in a 
home of the year 1830. The articles on the veranda all came 
from the attic. In the first or china room stood a long table 
on which was arranged old china in the order of its date or 
years of service. Here were seen old wooden utensils used in 
Wilbraham, stag horn sets, specimens of wedding dishes, such 
as the wedding china of John and Lucia Calkins. The collec- 
tion of Ludlow bottles is probably the best in the state. In 
the typical living room of 75 years ago there could scarcely be 
found anything that was modeni. The fireplace with its 
ancient foot stoveg and warming pans, was decidedly unique, 
and scattered about the room were the Beebe coat of arms 
worked here and there, an old sampler of 1793, a Hancock's 


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358 The Histohy of Wilbraham 

Bible sent in by a gentleman living at a distance, a replica of a 
lady's sewing table, charts dating long ago, and more china. 

"In an old closet was glassware of every description; this 
was fitted up with furnishings from an old Wilbraham house. 
In one of the upstairs rooms was a fine rare collection of old 
almanacs and anti-slavery documents. A chair near by con- 
tained a full gentleman's costume of the old time, with tall 
hat, vest, gloves, necktie and collar. On a large, curious bed 
was arranged a young woman's costume of 75 years ago. 

"The replica of a room of 1830 contained an old-fashioned 
high bed, rag carpet, wax flowers, and on the bed referred to, 
the entire costume of an old-time lady. The tables here and 
all through' the house were draped in homespun and old-time 
fabrics used ,as backgroimds. 

''The piazza was perhaps the most interesting of all, and 
here were ..arranged various curiosities, many hardly under- 
stood by the present generation, such as a bee smoker for 
driving out bees, queer reels and wheels, strange appearing 
cradles, a pedler's trunk, a picture painted by Miss Brewer, 
second preceptress of the academy, a large bread trough in 
which children could be rocked in case of emergency, queer 
lanterns, ladies' caps and slippers, baskets and unique examples 
of the photographer's art. 

"The Mixter tavern," where the exhibit was held and in 
which Miss Beebe makes her horae, is nearly as ancient as the 
treasures that it holds and admirably adapted for the purpose. 

"Miss Beebe was assisted in her explanation of the antiques 
by Mrs. Edith Miniter of Boston." 

And so, the three days' celebration of the 150th anniversary 
of the Incorporation of the Town, of Wilbraham was brought 
to a close. Almost perfect weather prevailed throughout the 
entire time, and not an accident marred the occasion. ■ 




360 The History of Wilbraham 


Following is a list of the homesteads of the town, in their 
order, on the different roads and crossroads. The names of 
present owners are given, also those of former owners, beginning 
with the latest, and continuing in their order to the earliest, 
so far as we have been able to ascertain them. A dash will 
indicate that some names are unknown to us. 

There are four roads rtmning north and south through the 
town, nearly parallel with each other and about one mile apart. 
To assist in readily locating these places, we will call the most 
westerly- road, the one rtmning along Stony Hill, West Street; 
the next one east, Main Street; the next one east, along the 
top of the mountain. Ridge Road; and the one still further 
east, East Street. 

We have not been able to obtain the names of many of the 
"Former owners" of the places. 

Main Street, Going South 

Beginning on the east side of the street at the Soldiers' 
Monument, which is practically the exact centre of the town. 

1. Monument Lot. Owned by the town, with conditions. 
Former owners: James B. Crane of Dalton, Chauncey E. Peck, 

John Brewer, Gaius Brewer, . The John Brewer house, 

which stood just south of the monument, was burned about 
1875. The monimient was erected in 1894 by the kindly 
munificence of Mrs. Lucia S. Foskit. 

Just south of the monurrient lot was a store, kept for several 
years'; about 1860-75, by Clinton C. Leach. South of that, and 
north of the lane (formerly called "Burt's Lane"), is the cellar 
hole, .which marks the site of the AUis House, where a hotel 
was kept for a ntmiber of years by Mrs. E. M. Allis, also by 
Mr. James P. Brown. 

2. A few rods from Main Street, on "Burt's Lane„" is the 
livery stable and office of the stage line which connects the 

The History of Wilbraham 


centre village with the railroad line. The stage line and stable, 
are now owned by Fred W. Green, who also ownes the two lots 
last mentioned. The stage line business was formerly owned 
by W. L. Collins. 

3. "Burt's Lane" (subject to some rights of way), and also 
the two lots in front of the livery stable and horse sheds are 
now owned by the North Parish of Wilbraham, which is the 
legal name of the First Congregational Church Society. 


4. First Congregational Church. Erected in 1912-13 and 
dedicated May 11, 1913. The entire cost of the building, 
including organ and furniture was about $17,000. This building 
was erected to replace the one which was struck by lightning 
and destroyed by fire on the afternoon of July 5, 1911, and is 
the fourth meeting house on that location. 

The one preceding it was erected in 1877, to replace one that 
was destroyed by fire, through the act of an irresponsible boy, 
on June 24 of that year, and which was built in 1857. The 
first meetinghouse was erected on Wigwam Hill in 1747-8, and 
was moved on to this ground in 1794, where it was used for 

The History of Wilbraham 

public worship until 1857, when it was moved on to the ground 
now occupied by the livery stable and converted into a bam. 
It served the useful purpose to shelter beasts for twenty years 
and was burned, with four dwelling houses, in the conflagration 
of 1877. One of the dwelling houses, which stood north of the 
present church, about where the road leads into the horse sheds, 
had been used for many years as a store and postoffice by 
R. R. Wright, Roderick Burt, Pliny Cadwell, Mrs. Hempstead, 
and others. In 1906 the Parish purchased the lot south of the 
church, formerly occupied by the dwelling of Monroe Pease, 
which was burned in 1902. Former owners: Monroe Pease, 
1873, L. B. Bliss, 1865, S. Foskit, and others. A meat market 
and store was kept there for a few years about 1890. 

5. West side of street, now owned by Mrs. Mary B. Gumey. 
Former owners: Heirs of E. B. Brewer, Edwin B. 'Brewer, 
William Brewer, Jr., William Brewer, Isaac Brewer, who was 
the first settler of that name in town. In May, 1746, the 
Precinct "Voated and granted to Isaac Brewer, att the Rate 
of three poimds, old tenor per year, for the use of his Chamber 
to Gary on the publick worship in." It was used for that 
purpose in 1746-7-8. There is a stone in the underpinning; 
on the north side of the house, with the date "Ocf 2, 1748," 
cut in it. The house was also used for a tavern, probably until 
about the time of the death of Isaac Brewer in 1788. 

6. Now owned by Mrs. Lucia S. Foskit, who inherited it from 
her husband Stebbins Foskit, M.D. Former owners: Ralph 
W. Allen, 1865, George Bishop, S. A. and Elizabeth Gushing, 
Elizabeth Hale, E. B. Brewer, — — , Isaac Brewer. 

7. Opposite Congregational Church, owned by Mrs. Martha 
C. Munsell, inherited from her husband Elijah Munsell, who 
purchased it in 1889 from Asa Bushnell. Sold by former owners 
as follows ; James Luke in 1860, Mark Trafton in 1858, James 
W. Mowry in 1857, R. R. Wright in 1851, Pliny Cadwell in 
1839, Ebenezer Brown in 1826, heirs of Dr. Joel Lyman in 1819, 
Rachel and Elijah Work in 1803, Jonathan Merrick in 1801, 
William King, Jr., in 1779, Charles Brewer in 1778, Luke Bliss 

The History of Wilbeaham 


and Z, Parsons in 1777, Enoch Chapin purchased it in 1760, 
David Chapin in 1733. 

8. The Foskit Memorial Grange Hall. Owned by Wilbraham 
Grange No. 153, Patrons of Husbandry. The site for the 
building was purchased from Mrs. Munsell in 1900. 

The hall, above the foundation, was built and furnished by 
Mrs. Lucia S. Foskit as a memorial to her deceased husband, 
Stebbins Foskit, M.D., and was dedicated to its present use 
February 27, 1901. It is used, every other year, for town 
meetings, and for many purposes of a social character, and is a 
welcome addition to our public buildings. 


Mr. Howard was Pastor of the Congregational Church for 43 years. 

On September 26, 1905, a large company assembled in the Congregational Chapel to 
join with them in celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary. I insert a few verses 
from a poem written for the occasion, illustrative of their work here. 

He, to tell of the Redeemer, 

Who was slain by sinner's hate; 
She, to hold his hands up longer, 

When the burden seemed too great. 

364 The Histoey of Wilbeaham 

He, to pour the oil of comfort 

On the wounded hearts of men; 
She, by gentle- ministrations, 

To relieve the smart of pain. 

So together they have journeyed, 

Through the length of fifty years. 
Cheering up the weaker-hearted. 

Changing into trust some tears. 

9. The Deacon Warriner Parsonage. Owned by Congrega- 
tional Society, North Parish of Wilbraham. Purchased by the 
Parish in 1868, and has been occupied by their pastor, Rev. 
Martin S. Howard, for forty-five years. Purchased by previous 
owners as follows; George L. Felton, 1858, Ralph Glover, 1855, 
George Bishop, 1851, Samuel Leach, 1834, who is supposed to 
have built the present house. 

In 1890, the Parish "voted that the Parsonage shall be 
named the Dea. Warriner Parsonage, in honor of the first donor 
of money to the Parish." The lot originally contained about 
fifteen acres. 

10. Just south of the Warriner Parsonage. House now owned 
by Edward M. Stephens. This place includes a large part of the 
land which was purchased by the North Parish in 1868, and 
was sold to Horace Clark and. others in 1869. Other owners: 
H. E. Miller, Chas. D. Woods and U. A. Morgan, Horace Clark, 
who built the present house about 1870. 

11. On east side of street, now owned by John MoUoy . Foriner 
owners: M. H. Lyons, heirs of Harriet E. Pease, Mixter, 

12. East side of street, owned by Mrs. William A. Newton. 

Former owners, Wells L. Phelps, Mrs. Amelia S. Phelps, , 

Luther B. Bliss, who built the present house about 1855. It 
was used for a store and postoffice and also for a residence. 
The store and postoffice, also his residence, having previously 
been in the old schoolhouse which stood just south of the 
present house. 

This school district was No. 2. until 1842, when it was 
divided, and district No. 12 established. I have been informed 

The History of Wilbkaham 


that there were about 65 scholars who attended the school. 
The new schoolhouse in district No. 2 was built a little north 
of the present stone church, and that in the new district No. 12 
was erected about half a mile further south. It is the house 
now owned by Rev. Josiah G. Willis. I attended school there. 
The old schoolhouse, which had also served as a store and 
postoffice, was moved across the street onto land now owned by- 
Edward M. Stephens, converted into a dwelling and was 
occupied by tenants until 1869, when it was removed to the 


Standing about 20 rods east of Main Street, and about 8 roda south of the road leading 
to the Woodland Dell Cemetery, in the mowing now owned by M. C. Wade. Girth iS feet 
and 6H inches, at five feet above the ground. The view is to the northwest, showing 
Congregational church in the background. 

north side of Springfield Street, and is now occupied by Frank 
Sweatland. Owned by Rice. 

13. Owned by Richard J. Sackett. Former owners: Dr. H. 
G. Webber, heirs of Edmund Jones, Edmund Jones, who built 
the present house, probably about 1850. 

14. Owned by Marshall C. Wade, who purchased it about 
1894. Former owners: John M. Merrick, his father, John 


The History of Wilbraham 

Merrick, his father, Lieut. Jonathan Merrick, his father, Dea. 
David Merrick, who settled there about 1735. The house was 
used for a tavern for many years. John M. Merrick was 
licensed as an "Innholder" in Wilbraham in 1840 and probably 



15. On east side of street, just south of the brook. Owned by 
Mrs. Isabel Ripley. Former owners: Rev. James Sutherland, 
Jane A. Lilley (Twing), Rufus Twing, who probably built the 

16. Now owned by George E. Knowlton. Former owners: 
Mrs. Julia Knowlton, Nancy Pease, Jacob Neff, Warner- 

The History of Wilbeaham 367 

The house was probably built by Warner. It is just north of 
former "Meeting House Lane." 

17. Just north of the road to Monson, now owned by Jane E. 
Hancock. Former owners: Moses Hancock, who purchased 
the place in 1840, William Twing, Benj. Fuller, 1831, Asa 

Fuller, , Ezra Barker, 1752 to 1777. The Fullers kept a 

tavern here from about 1831 to 1838, which was burned. 

18. On w^est side of street. Marble shop, now owned by 
M. C. Wade. Formerly owned by George W. Lilly, who built 
the shop and carried on the business of marble cutting, erecting 
gravestones, etc., for about twenty years, until about' 1883. 
The shop has been used for storage purposes for more than 
twenty years. 

19. Blacksmith shop. Formerly owned and carried on by 
Rufus Twing for many years, until about 1882. It is now 
owned by Elias S. Keyes, and used for storage of lumber. 

20. East side of street, south of road to Monson. Now owned 
by Myron L. and Mrs. Laura Bruuer. Inherited from Myron 
Bruuer, who inherited it from his father. Dr. Luther Bruuer, 
who pi^rchased the place in 1824. The present house was built 
about 1835. Former owners: Jonathan Dwight, George Bliss, 
Joseph Sexton in 1791, David Shearer, Gabriel Bumham, Abel 
King, Phineas Newton, Jr., Phineas Newton, Simeon Willard. 
In 1791, the North Parish "Voted that the Meeting House be 
set 'on the south side of Joseph Saxton's lot in the Street." 
Probably the intended location was near this house. 

21. A little south of Bruuer place. Now owned by Mrs. 
Josephine (Bliss) Johnson, of Providence, R. I. Former owners: 
Mrs. Rower.a Bliss, L. Stowell, Rev. Moulton. 

22. A little south of Johnson place. Now owned by George 
W. Hulmes. Former owners: Lyman Fisk, Henry C. Frost, 

Henry Dewey, , H. Bridgman Brewer, who built the 

present house about 1856. 

The History of Wilbhaham 

23. On west side of street, a little south of Brewer's pond. 
Now owned by William Butler. Former owners : Mrs. Frances 

Davis, Otis K. Ladd, , Rev. John Bowers, who lived here 

while he was pastor of the Congregational church, 1837-1855. 

24. East side of street, now owned by Albro J. Bryant. 

Former owners : Mrs. Agnes McCaw, Schoonmaker, , 

William Twing, William" Gilbert, who inherited the place from 
his father-in-law. Dr. Gideon Kibbe, whose father, Capt. 
Gideon Kibbe, built the house about 1810, on land purchased 
from M. K. Bartlett. Dr. Kibbe lived here and practiced his 
profession for about fifty years. 

25. Now owned by Mrs. Mary (Howard) Green. Former 
owners: C. P. Belles, Gilbert Warfield, R. J. Conboy, Rev. 
Franklin Fisk, Horace Clark, Mrs. Mary A. Brewer, S. Jenks, 

William Knight, Esq., , Daniel Warner, who was the third 

person who settled in town, and whose daughter, Comfort, 
bom, March 15, 1734, was the first white child bom here. It 
was on these grounds that the ordination services of the Rev. 
Noah Merrick were to have been held, June 24, 1741, but the 
rain prevented. 

Here also the first postoffice in Wilbraham was established, 
William Knight, Esq., postmaster, and the door leading from 
the hall into the front room, still shows the place where letters 
could be dropped in when the office was closed. A few rods 
south of this house, "Federal Lane" leads off to the east. 

26. Now owned by William T. Eaton who built the present 
house on the site of one burned about 1880. Former owners: 

James M. King, , Joseph McGregory, Rev. Daniel Lee, 

S. Holman, Elijah Work and others. The first principal of 
Wesleyan Academy, Rev. Wilbur Fisk, lived here in the 
Elijah Work house. 

27. Now ovmed by Mrs. William Thompson. Former owners : 

Mrs. Abby S. Knight, Lawton, Stephen Utley, who kept 

a tavern there, probably about 1814-1849. Rev. Ezra Witter 
who was pastor of the Congregational church, 1797 to 1814, 

The History of Wilbkaham 369 

probably built the house. He kept a private school there. 
There is some hand carving in the finish of the north front 
room, which is said to have been done by him. 

28. Now owned by Delbert H. Eaton. Former owners: 
Elias S. Keyes who built the present house, about 1890, on the 
site of one burned, which formerly belonged to H. Bridgman 
Brewer, who lived there for some years about 1850. Former 
owner, Maj. Wm. Clark. 

29. Now owned by Rev. Josiah G. Willis. Former owners: 
George Summers, Mrs. Francis J. Warner. This house was 
the schoolhouse in District No. 12, from about 1842 to about 
1880. It had a hall on the second floor which was sometimes 
used for social gatherings. 

30. Now owned by Thomas H. Nims. Former owners : Mrs. 
James O. Martin, Chauncey E. Peck, Mrs. Nellie M. Scofield, 
who inherited it from her mother, Mrs. Sarah Mears, Mrs. 

Merrick, , Noah Warriner, who inherited it by the will of 

Dea. Na,thaniel Warriner, who had no children. Deacon 
Warriner located here about 1734, and was the fourth settler. 
He kept a tavern in the house. (See history for further details.) 

31. Ten or fifteen rods south of the Deacon Warriner home- 
stead is a cellar hole which marks the site of the first house 
erected in the territory now known as Wilbraham. Here 
Nathaniel Hitchcock erected his log cabin in 1730, which was 
occupied by his family the following year. Here, Dr. Samuel 
F. Merrick lived for many years and I suppose his daughter, 
Abigail, went from here to join the "Merry Making" at the 
house of Levi Bliss in 1799, when she, with the six yoimg persons 
were drowned in Nine Mile Pond. Probably Polly Warriner, 
who was drowned at the same time, lived in the next house 
north (now owned by Mr. Nims), as her father, Noah Warriner 
inherited that place by the wUl of Dea. Nathaniel Warriner in 
1780. The house which formerly stood here was a fine specimen 
of colonial architecture. It was burned about 1875. The land 
is now owned by Thomas H. Nims. 

370 The History of Wilbkaham 

32. Eight or twelve rods south, is another .cellar hole, which 
marks the site of a house which was burned about 1892. The 
land is now owned by Lee W. Rice. Former owners: Mrs. 
Miller, J. Oakes, James Robinson, Town of Wilbraham, perhaps 
— King. 

33. On east side of street. Now owned by heirs of George 
W. Pease, inherited from his father, Reuben Pease, who carried 
on the shoe-making business there in a little shop which stood 
on the northwest corner of the lot. He made my first pair of 
boots. He was librarian for School District No. 12, and kept 
the books in his shop. A few of them may still be found in 

34. On west side of street. Now owned by L. L. Stone. 
Former owners: Frederick and Edward Merrick, who inherited 
it by the will of Lorenzo Bliss, who inherited it from his father 
Pynchon Bliss, who purchased it from the heirs of Solomon 
Warriner, and may have inherited it partly from his wife 
Betsey, who was a daughter of Solomon Warriner, who was a 
son of Capt. James Warriner, who may have lived on this place. 
Solomon Warriner was librarian of a library in operation here 
in 1781. (See history.) 

35. On east side of street. Now owned by John A. Calkins. 

Former owners: Smith, Watrous, Soule, John S. Albray, ■, 

Henry Burt, , Noah Alvord, who located here about 1732, 

and was the second settler here. 

36. On west side of street. The stone house. Now owned by 
Charles S. and Fannie M. Merrick, who inherited it from their 
father James Merrick. Former owners ; Roderick Burt, Moses 
Burt, who built the house about 1830, Moses Burt Sr., who 
located here about 1740, or earlier. 

37. Now owned by heirs of Samuel F. Merrick, who built the 
stone, bam about 1854. The house was built later. The north 
line of this farm is the north line of the overplus land in the 
second division, which is said to be 82 rods wide and extends 
south, probably to the north line of the Henry D. Foskit place. 

The History of Wilbhaham 


38. On east side of street, just north of the "Green," now 
owned by Mrs. Addie (Cadwell) Speight. Inherited from her 
father Henry Cadwell. 

East of Mrs. Speight's place, on the north side of the "Green," 
there were two or three houses about 1840-1870, which were 


A black oak tree, about one mile south of the Soldiers' Monument. When the selectmen 
of Springfield altered the road "running east & west near the revd Noah Miricks dwelling," 
in 1749, they began, "about 40 rod south of Moses Burts Dwelling House, at a black oak 
tree." This may be the same tree that was there 165 years ago. The view is looking east. 

owned, or occupied by the stone cutters who worked in the 
quarry, at the foot of the hill, a little further to the east. The 
business was carried on by Joseph McGregory and others. 

372 The History of Wilbhaham 

until the layer of brown sand-stone, on which they were working, 
was exhausted. I have been told that another layer of the 
stone was found to lie beneath the upper one, but it has not 
been worked. 

39. The schooUiouse, District No. 3, on the "Green." Some- 
times called the "MUe Tree." This building was erected in 
1880 at an expense of about $900.00, not including furniture. 
In 1769, the town voted that the "Green" should be " Common 
Land or Highway." 

40. On west side of street, and on north side of "Tinkham 
Road." Now owned by Mrs. Sarah (Adams) Coe. Former- 
owners : Dea. David Adams, John Adams, who built the house 
in 1794. On the east side, just south of the "Tinkham Road" 
is the site of a house burned some years ago, formerly owned 
by G. Frank Adams, his father, George Adams, his father, John 

41. On east side of street. Now owned by Jerome Pease. 

Former owners : — — Hendrick, Burr, Norman McGregory. 

This house is one of those that stood on the north side of the 
"Green," and was moved to the present site about 1855. 

42. On west side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Luthera E. 
Bosworth. Former owners : D. L. Bosworth, James Richards, 
Ralph Scripter, J. O. Lincoln, Clark. 

43. On east side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Jennie 
(Foskit) Rayen. Former owners: Henry D. Foskit, E. B. 
Bloomer, Roderick S. Merrick, Noah Merrick, Dea. Chileab 
Merrick, who is said to have built the house for his son, Noah. 

44. On west side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Martha R. 
Pickens. Former owners: Michael Mack, C. A. Corbin, E. B. 
Bloomer, Ralph Glover. 

45. Now owned by Lee W. Rice. Former owners: Mrs. 

Martha R. Pickens, Michael Mack, Fuller, John Holman 

and others. Mr. Rice is extensively engaged in the raising of 

The History of Wilbbaham 373 

peaches, and has sent to market more than 3000 baskets in 
three days. 

46. Owned by Lee W. Rice, who built the house about 1912, 
on the site of one burned about 1875, which was owned by 
John Holman. 

47. Owned by Lee W. Rice, who built the house about 1913, 

on land formerly owned by Holman, Jerome Pease. 

About 20 or 40 rods further south, on the east side of the 
street, is the meadow, mentioned in the will of Dea. Nathaniel 
Warriner, as "Ashe swamp." It was called by that name for 
many years. 

48. On east side of street, now owned by Jesse L. Rice, who 
purchased the place about 1868. Former owners: John Work, 
— — . Probably Moses Warriner lived here, or in a house some 
distance further to the east. There is a hewed stone in the 
foundation of the house marked "M W" 

Oct. 2 1744 
In 1744, Moses Warriner purchased lots 15, 16, 17, 18, in the 
third division of the outward commons, making a total width 
of nearly fifty rods north and south, and those lots must have 
been in this vicinity. 

49. On west side of street. Now owned by J. Wilbur Rice, 
who built the house about 1906, on land purchased of Mrs. 
Lizzie G. Moore. When the foundations for the piazza were 
being dug a well was uncovered. There may have been a 
hotise there much earlier. 

50. On east side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Lizzie G. 
Moore, who inherited it from her husband, Charles G. Moore. 
Former owners : , — Simons, , John Lincoln. 

Twenty or forty rods south of the Moore place, is a branch 
road leading eastward up the mountain, and the only piece of 
woodland on the entire length of Main Street. Passing through 
the woodland about 50 rods, we find the original road leading 
up the mountain, also, a few feet beyond, a road leading off to 

374 The History of Wilbbaham 

the west. Both of these roads may be called the Stebbins Road, 
in remembrance of the first settler of that name who located 
on the road which leads to the eastward. 

On the east side of stxeet, opposite the road leading to the 
west, the schoolhouse of District No. 3 was located for many- 
years, until 1879, when, because of the division of the town, the 
location was changed to the "Green." The old schoolhouse 
was sold to the Congregational Society for $41.00, and was 
moved by J. C. Oooley and others, with the assistance of several 
yoke of oxen, to the grounds north of the church, and now con- 
stitutes the four most westerly ones, of the line of horse sheds 
in the rear of the church. 

51. On east side of street, about 50 to 70 rods south of the 
Stebbins Road, is the old Mirick house, famous for its connec- 
tion with the tragic death of Timothy, only son of "Lef tenant" 
Thomas Mirifck. (See History). The house was built in 1761. 
It was changed somewhat in 1910. It is now occupied by 
Walter M. Bliss. 

52. On west side of street. Now owned by Ethelbert Bliss, 
who inherited it from his father about 1895. Purchased by 
former owners : Albert Bliss in 1870, Porter Cross, 1849, Joseph 

Little, , , Lieut. Thomas Mirick, previous to 1761 

Porter Cross built the present house in 1852, which was re- 
modeled by Mr. Bliss in 1909. The present commodious bam 
was built in 1900, and is too small for present needs. The land, 
and the old Mirick house on the east side of street, belong to 
this place, which has been called "Mapleside Farm" for many 
years. It is popularly known as the birthplace of Wilbraham 
peaches. These are the last houses on Main Street north of the 
present town of Hampden. 

Main Street going north from Soldiers' Monument 

1. Public Watering Tank. Nearly opposite the monument at 
the entrance to Springfield Street. This was established by the 









The History of Wilbbaham 

town in 1881, at an expense of $407.74. It has been a great 
convenience to the public. It may soon be moved a few feet 
further south. 

2. Store. On west side of Main Street and north side of Spring- 
field Street, now owned by A. H. Phillips. Former owners, 

Charles L. Hubbard, George W. Ely, , R. R. Wright 

R. Burt, , Caleb Stebbins, Caleb S. Fisk. This store stands 

on land purchased in 1826 by Caleb S. Fisk, "Trader," from 
Dr. Jesse W. Rice, and the same as all of the buildings on the 
north side of Springfield Street over to Pole Bridge Brook, is 
on the land formerly owned by Charles Brewer and others. 
(See No. 4.) The upper part of the building has been used for 
a Masonic Hall since 1870. 


Looking North from in front of Soldiers' Monument. 

First building on the right, Postofl&ce and store of F. C. Newton. A little further 

along, may be seen the front of original M. E. Church. 

First on the left, home of C. E. Peck. Second, M. E. Parsonage. 

3, On east side of street, store and postoffice. Now owned by 
F. C. Newton. Former owners: F. A. Gumey, heirs of C. M. 

The History op Wilbraham 377 

Pease, Charles M. Pease, who btiilt the store in 1888 which has 
been much enlarged by Mr. Gumey. On the southwest comer 
of the store lot, there was a shoemakers shop for many years, 
and ia it, Lorenzo Hancock established the postoflfice, when he 
was appointed postmaster by the Lincoln administration in 
1861. I have been there for mail. In 1888 the building was 
removed to the northeast comer of the Virgin lot, converted 
into a small bam, and is there now. The west side is painted 
red. Just north of this store, was the house of Rev. Charles 
N. Virgin, which he probably built about 1830. It remained 
in his possession and that of his widow Lydia Virgin and her 
heirs, until about 1882. It was much used as a boarding place 
by students of the Academy, and was called "The Virgin 
Hollow Hotel." It is said that it may have been a "station" 
on the "Undergrotmd railroad." The house was torn down a 
few years ago. 

4. On west side of Main Street, about ten or fifteen rods north 
of Springfield Street, first house north of Phillips' store, now 
owned by Chauncey E. Peck who built the present house in 
1893, on the site of a house which was torn down, which is 
supposed to have been erected about 1740. Purchased by previ- 
ous owners as follows: Ira G. Potter, 1893, Luther Markham, 
1869, Lucius Stowell, 1864, Dr. Jesse W. Rice, 1826, Charles 
Brewer, 1781, who kept an Inn there for many years. He was 
also a cabinet-maker, Eleazer Smith, 1770, Sergt. Daniel 
Cadwell, 1765, Samuel Warner, by wUl of his father Ebenezer, 
"It being the lot whereon the said Samuel now lives," 1754, 
Ebenezer Wamer, 1732. Samuel Warner, called "Clark 
Warner" kept the record of births and deaths in this precinct, 
(now Wilbraham) beginning "March ye 15"' 1734," to "August 
28, 1783." Twelve days after the last entry, he laid down his 
pen forever. The record is still in existence. The two strange 
stones, in front of the house, were placed there in 1899. They 
were found lying down, in low wet ground, a little way up the 
moimtain, in a northeasterly direction, near the "Lower 
Reservoir" of the Wilbraham Academy. 


Born at Willington, Conu., in 1815. Came from Monson to Wilbraham in 1865. Served 
as Selectman, as special County Commissioner for six years, as Kepresentative in the 
legislature, as special trial Justice, as Justice of the Peace for 42 years, and, as Executor or 
Administrator, settled one hundred and eleven estates in the Probate Court. He died in 
1909, in his 94th year. 


The History of Wilbkaham 379 

5. On east side of street opposite Mr. Peck's place, now owned 
by Frank A. Gumey. Former owners: Ira G. Potter, F. M. 

MUler, , B. F. Squire, Mrs. Frost, Charles Brewer, Jr., 

who was killed in 1853 (see History). His widow "Atmt 
Fanny Brewer," as she was familiarly called, lived here for 
about twenty years after the death of her husband, and had 
many students as boarders and roomers. The house was 
built by Rev. John W. Hardy about 1836 while he was Steward 
at the Academy. 

6. On east side of street, the first house south of the road 
leading up the mountain, south of the stone church, now owned 
by Chauncey E. Peck. This house was the first Methodist 
meeting house in Wilbraham, and was built in 1793-94 and was 
occupied by the Methodists tintil about 1835. The ground on 
which the building stands, was owned by Charles Brewer, and 
was leased by him to the society for the consideration that the 
society should pay him "one pepper-corn" annually while they 
used it. It was pturchased by different owners as follows: 
Chauncey E. Peck, 1908, WilUam W. Merrick, 1841, Anson L. 
Brewer, 1835, Susan Brewer, 1829, Charles Brewer, 1781, 
Calvin Brewer, son of Charles, may have owned the place 
about 1825, and it was on this land, and on that on the west 
side of the street, where he wished the Academy to be located, 
and was much grieved when they selected another location. 
The, house is now occupied by tenants, Mrs. Allis and Dr. 
H. G. Webber. 

7. On west side of street, opposite the first Methodist Episcopal 
meeting house. Methodist parsonage, which was probably 
purchased by the Methodist Episcopal society about 1855. 
Former owners: Capt. A. S. Flagg, Dr. Jesse W. Rice and 
others. (See No. 4.) House built by S. F. Pickering about 

8. A few rods east of Main Street, on the north side of the 
road leading up the motmtain, just south of the stone 


The History of Wilbbaham 

church. House now owned by Miss Fannie M. Merrick. 
Former owners : Heirs of Henry and Horace Cadwell, Emeroy 
McGregory, who inherited it from his mother, Eunice Rice 
(McGregory) (Cadwell), who inherited it from her husband, 
James Rice. 

9. On east side of street. The Stone Church of the Methodist 
Episcopal Society. Erected in 1868-69, at a cost of about 
$45,000 and dedicated in 1870. The meeting house which had 
served the society since 1835, being moved to the east, and 
converted into a music hall by the Wesleyan Academy. Just 
north of the stone church was the schoolhouse of District 
No. 4, erected about 1842, burned about 1869. Just north of 
the schoolhouse was a house owned by Ezra White, which was 
burned about 1855. 

10. On west side of street, opposite the stone church. Now 
owned by Fred W. Green. Former owners: Chauncey E. Peck, 
Sarah M. Taylor, Dr. Taylor, Mrs. Emily Work, Porter Cross 
Rev. Lorenzo White, Ezra White, Charles Warriner. 


The History of Wilbhaham 381 

11. Store of Charles N. Mowry, first place south of Rich Hall. 
Former owners, Samuel F. Pickering, who built the buildings 
about 1855, and kept a store there until about 1870. 

12. Rich Hall. The Academy Boarding House. Named in 
honor of Isaac Rich who contributed largely towards the 
expense of its erection. (See History.) On East side of street, 
opposite the north end of Rich Hall, and just south of the road 
leading up to Fisk Hall, was the home of Dr. John Stems in 
1768 and later. This road was the town road from Main Street 
up to the Ridge Road, and was laid out in 1768. The road was 
changed to the present location, about 1824. 

13. Faculty Street. This road was laid out by the town in 
1764, and, according to the old record, is "to begin from the 
Road or Street that David Warriner lives upon, on the Main 
Road leading to Samuel Glovers, — on the North side of the Lot 
originally laid out to John Dorchester, (No. 96) Extending 
west across Cowpen Meadow Swamp." The road may have 
been relaid about 1854. 

14. The Principal's House, Wilbraham Academy. The present 
house was built about 1856 to replace the original one which 
was built in 1827, and which was moved some rods to 
the west and converted into a Dormitory for the use of the 

15. Now owned by Mrs. Sarina E. Godfrey. Inherited by the 
will of her nephew, Edward H. Brewer, who died in Dalton, 
Mass. in 1911. Inherited by him, from his mother, Anna Keyes 
Brewer. Inherited by her from her husband, Henry Burt 
Brewer. Partly inherited by him, from his mother Lovice 
Brewer. The present place being the widow's third set off to 
her from the estate of her husband, Henry Brewer, who pur- 
chased it in 1814 from Samuel Hale and his wife, Mindwell 
Hale. Former owners: William Buel and others. The tract 
then included original lots 92, 93, 94, 95 and was 24 rods, 8 feet, 

The Histoky of Wilbraham 

4 inches wide, counting 16 feet to a rod, and lay on both sides 
of Main Street, and probably extended north to the south line 
of the present Hurd farm, formerly of Timothy Brewer. 

16. Now owned by J. Herbert Starr. Former owners: Mrs. 
Mary Wheelwright, Prof. Charles M. Parker, who built the 
present house about 1880, and was a teacher at the Academy 

17. Owned by Miss Louise Manning Hodgkins, who is engaged 
in literary work, and lectures to Colleges or Clubs, and has 
called the place "Fayre Houres." Former owners: Prof. 
Benjamin Gill, who was a teacher at the Academy for twenty 
years, 1872-1892. The house was built by James Luke about 
1850, who lived there for several years. 

18. Now owned by Mrs. Sarah W. Chapin. Former owners : 
Mrs. Hattie F. Bartlett, DeWitt Mowry, who inherited it from 
his father. Nelson Mowry, who lived there for many years, 
having pturchased it from Samuel F. Pickering. About the 
time of the beginning of the Civil War, Mr. Mowry had a young 
colored man in his employ, who may have been a runaway 
slave, called Isack. A daughter of Calvin Brewer, who lived on 
Springfield Street, just beyond the first branch of Pole Bridge 
Brook, (where Mr. Chase lives now), had married a southern 
man named Newell, and lived in the south for several years 
with slaves to attend on her, until the death of her husband, 
when she returned to her old home. Her sympathy was with 
the South, and one day she hung out the confederate colors. 
Excitement ran high in the village, a crowd quickly gathered, 
rushed over to the house and ptdled the colors down. A day 
or two later, she drove into Mr. Mowry's yard, and chanced to 
see Isack standing there, and asked who he was? Mr. Mowry 
gave an evasive reply, and Isack heard Mrs. Newell say "He 
looks like one of my boys." That night Isack disappeared, and 
was never seen by any of the Mowry family afterwards. Mrs. 
Newell had several of those arrested, who were engaged in 

The History of Wilbkaham 


Now home of Charles W. Chapin. 

tearing down the confederate flag, and a hearing was held in 
the basement of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but they 
were all discharged. 

19. On east side of street, now owned by Charles L. Hubbard. 
Former owners: Samuel J. Goodenough, James Luke, who 
built the house about 1850. There is a story in connection with 
the building of this house. One day Mr. Luke took some boards 
up to Harris's saw mill in Ludlow, to have them cut up. When 
the work was done and he was about to pay the bill, he found 
his pocketbook was missing. There was $6,000 in it, and he 
hurried back along the road, asking all whom he met, if they 
had seen it. On the Old Bay Road, probably near where the 
electric road now passes over the railroad, he met a man who 
looked like a tramp, and asked him. The man replied that he 
had, and produced the pocketbook. After finding the contents 
were all there, Mr. Luke gave him $100. 

The History of Wilbbaham 

20. On west side of street, opposite the Hubbard place. Now 
owned by Mrs. Nancy M. Flagg who purchased the place in 
1887. Former owners: Heirs of Williani E. Brewer, William 
E. Brewer, Mrs. Nancy (Bliss) Smith, Abel Bliss, who built the 
house about 1845, for his daughter, Mrs. Nancy Smith, who 
afterwards married a Dr. Rice and settled in the west. 

21. North of the Flagg place, now owned by Theodore 
Gebrault. Former owners : Miss Harriet Bliss, Abel Bhss, who 
built the present house for his daughter Harriet, about 1846. 
The piazza is a recent addition. 

22. On east side of street, now owned by Miss Emily Wright, 
who inherited it from her father Robert R. Wright, who pur- 
chased the place about 1868. Former owners: Isaac Plumley. 
The. house was built and owned for a time by a Mr. Lane. 

23. North of the Wright place, now owned by William G. 
Rogers, who purchased it of the town of Wilbraham about 1911: 



Born in South Wilbraham in ISll. Came to Wilbraham Centre in 1839. Was a mer<- 
ohant liere for 35 years. Trustee of Wesleyan Academy for 60 years. Died in 1906, aged 
95 years. 

386 The Histokt of Wilbbaham 

The building was erected in 1871 for a school house, and used 
as such until 1906, when the new schoolhouse on Springfield 
Street was occupied. Mr. Rogers has changed the appearance 
and arrangement of the building very much. 

24. On west side of street, now owned by Mrs. Calvin G. 
Robbins. Former owners: Calvin G. Robbins, Mrs. Agnes 
McCaw, Mrs. A. S. Curtis. The house was built in 1891 by 
Chauncey E. Peck. 

25. On west side of street, ten or fifteen rods from the same, 
with a lane or driveway leading to the house. Now owned by 
Mrs. L. R. Hurd and heirs of William Hurd. Former owners; 
Maria S. Robbins, Calvin G. Robbins, M3rron A. Bliss, heirs of 
Timothy Brewer, Timothy Brewer who lived there for many 
years previous to 1870. The place may have been owned by 
Gains Brewer. The main street formerly ran close to this 
house, and on up the hill to the north, but was changed to the 
present location about 1840. 

26. On east side of street, ten or fifteen rods from the same, 
with a lane or driveway leading to it is the house now owned by 
Mrs. Fannie Coote. Inherited from her husband John R. Coote 
who purchased the place about 1894 from Philip P. Potter, who 
built the house about 1878. 

27. On west side of street opposite the carriage shop. Now 
owned by Mrs. Edna Gebo. Former owners: Chauncey E. 
Peck, who built the house about 1888. Much of the timber in 
this house was originally purchased for the Town Hall, which 
was begtm early in 1886, but never finished. 

28. On east side of street, opposite the Gebo house. Carriage 
and blacksmith shop, now owned by Theodore Gebeault (or 
Gebo). Former owners; Chauncey E. Peck who built the shop 
early in 1871, and carried on the carriage and wagon manufac- 

The History of Wilbraham 387 

turing business there for 34 years. Much attention has been 
given to the repair of automobiles in recent years. 

29. On west side of street, just north of Mrs. Gebo's house. 
Now owned by Mrs. Ellen M. Stephens, who inherited it from 
her husband James Stephens, who inherited from his sister 
Elizabeth Stephens, who inherited from her father Isaac 
Stephens. Former owners : Olds and others. 

30. Now owned by William H. McGuire Sr. who has been 
engaged for several years in supplying coal to the townspeople, 
handling about 500 tons each year. Formerly owned by Mrs. 
Sophia Eustis, who was a daughter of Timothy Brewer, and 
very much interested in the "Millerite" movement, about 
1850. Ten or twenty rods north of this house, on the east side 
of street, is a narrow lane, leading up. to what was once called 
"Harmony Grove," where the Millerites, or" Adventists, as they 
were afterwards called, held meetings in summer time. The 
grove has been cut down and the land recently set to peach 
trees. Now owned by Lee W. Rice. 

31. Up on the hill just west of the street. Now owned by Mrs. 
Martha A. Day, who inherited the place from her father Isaac 
Brewer, who was a son of Timothy. For many years, until 
about 1906, Mrs. Day's husband, William H. Day, carried on 
the cider manufacturing business, in the large building on the 
east side of the street, opposite the house, on quite a large 
scale, but the business has now been abandoned. Fifteen or 
twenty rods north of Mrs. Day's house, on the north side of the 
hill and ten or fifteen rods west of the street, is the cellar hole, 
which marks the site of what was called the Hoyt place, once 
owned by George Hoyt. The house burned about 1876. 

The bam still standing, a little further to the west, was on 
the west side of the original Main Street, which formerly went 
over the top of the hill, until about 1840. 


The History of Wilbkaham 

(Nathan C. was a son of Mrs. Nancy B. Rice.) 

32. Continuing on down the hill to the north, in the track of 
the old road, which is still plainly visible, is the small house now 
owned by James G. MacLain, who purchased it from Mrs. 
Eliza Rice in 1901, who inherited it from her husband, Nathan 
Rice, who inherited it from his mother Nancy Rice, who lived 
to be 101 years old. Nancy Rice purchased it in 1831 from 
Ruhamah Babcock, who purchased it in 1814 of Abel Bliss, Jr. 
It is reported that this was the first Methodist parsonage in 
town. A narrow lane now leads from the house to the street. 
On account of the large number of lilac bushes, the house has 
been called "Lilac Cottage." 


Bom in Wilbraham in 1784, one of twelve children of Thomas and Temperance Bliss 
who probably lived on the "Stebbins Road." Died August 10, 1886, aged 101 years, 
8 months, and 26 days. I thinlc the portrait was taken on her 100th birthday. Buried in 
Adams Cemetery. 

390 The History of Wilbhaham 

33. On east side of street, now owned by Mrs. Sarah (Bliss) 
Gillet, who inherited the place from her father John Wesley- 
Bliss, who inherited it from his father Abel Bliss 3d, who 
probably inherited it from his father, Abel Bliss 2nd, who pur- 
chased part of lots 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, and 73 of Joseph 
Sikes in 1769, "bounded westerly upon Nathaniel Hitchcocks 
land near the Pine or Spruce Island, and easterly upon the top 


of the mountain called Hunting Hill, with house and bam 

Mrs. Gillet has a large number of old deeds and other papers, 
some of them dating back to 1733. She has the original lease 
which Charles Brewer gave to the methodist society of the 
ground on which their first meetinghouse was erected in 1794. 
She also has the contract which her grandfather made with 
Calvin Brewer and Wilbur Fisk, to build the Principal's House 

The History op Wilbraham 391 

for $1490.00, in the year 1827. Former owners: Moses Bart- 
lett, Samuel Bartlett, , Jonathan Day. 

34. On west side of street, now owned by Arthur F. Smith. 
Former owners : Mrs. Mary L. Lyman, O. S. Firman, Francis B. 

Firman, Hyde, Abraham Avery. Mr. Avery used the 

house for a harness shop, and probably it was here that the 
Presbyterian Saddle was made. 

35. West side of street. Now owned by Albert W. Torrey. 
Former owners: Leon G. Bartlett, L. J. Potter, Ira G. Potter, 
who purchased it in 1865. Dexter Allis, L. M. Warren, S. S. 
Gilman, B. C. Gilman, Truman Kimpton, Abraham Avery and 
others. On the hill east of this place, a bungalow is being 
erected by Frank C. Learned. 

36. Now owned by Mrs. Beatrice L. Millard. Former owners : 
Alden Knowlton, his mother Mrs. Nathaniel Knowlton, 
Nathaniel Knowlton, Buell, John Jones, Abraham Avery, who 
is said to have had his tannery a few rods west of the house. 
In 1861, Charles Buell lived here with his father. He was the 
first soldier who enlisted from Wilbraham. 

37. On east side of street. Now owned by John H. Reader. 
Former owners: Mrs. F. A. Warren, W. L. Collins, Warren 

Collins, G. H. Calkins, Mrs. Wells, Rice, Rufus Jones. 

I have been told that there was an acqueduct to this house 
from a spring quite a distance to the east, and in the time of 
the Civil War, the price of lead was so high that the pipe was 
dug up and sold. 

38. On west side of street. Now owned by Arthur A. Chilson. 
Former owners: Alvin Chilson, James Conners, C. S. Niles, 
David M. Havens, William Jones. 

The History of Wilbkaham 

Now owned by his granddaughter, Mrs. Rose (Merrill) Welch. 

39. Now owned by Mrs. Rose (Merrill) Welch. Former 
owners : Joseph Merrill, Rev. Joseph A. Merrill, who built the 
house probably about 1830. He was a presiding Elder in the 
Methodist Episcopal Church for more than twenty-five years. 
He was one of the founders of the Wesleyan Academy here, and 
its third treasurer 1832-1842. His son Joseph Merrill was 
Librarian of the Methodist Episcopal Sabbath School for 
forty years, and it is said, never missed a Sunday. Three of 
his sons were ministers, and two of his daughters married 
ministers. One of the daughters of Joseph, married Rev. 
Henry E. Hempstead. He was a Chaplain in the Civil War, 
and died in the South soon after the battle of Fredricksburg, 
Dec. 13, 1862, and his widow Mrs. Hempstead, was appointed 
postmistress in Wilbraham. 

40. On east side of street, opposite Mrs Welch's place. Now 
owned by heirs of Rev. Nathaniel J. Merrill. Former owners : 

The History of Wilbkaham 


Died in 1912, aged 95 years. Tlie oldest man in Wilbraham at that time, 
and tlie oldest member of the New England Methodist Episcopal Confer- 
ence. He was a son of Rev. Joseph A. Merrill. 

Rev. Nathaniel J. Merrill, Joseph Merrill, who built the present 
house about 1850. 

41. On west side of street. Now owned by Thomas J. Murphy 
who built the present house about 1896, on land purchased of 
W. L. Collins. 

42. On west side of street. Now owned by William V. Patch. 
Former owners: Mrs.' Ellen (Munsell) Ricker, who inherited it 


The History of Wilbraham 



'i''- '-if 

T — 







,- ■ ■ ■ ".;-.*■ 



*Pw:---. "■ 

Former home of Rev. Nathaniel J. Merrill. 

from her father, Willard F. Munsell, who purchased it in 1859, 
and lived there 47 years. Luther Fay purchased it in 1857, 
Robert R. Wright in 1852, Levi Bliss who inherited it from his 
father, Levi Bliss, who probably built the house about 1772. 
For in that year he bought of the town, the west half of the 
Ministry Lot in the Second Division, Lot No. 38, which was 
37 rods, 4 feet wide, 16 feet to the rod, beginning at Main Street 
and extending west to the Inward Commons. This house was 
the home of Gordon, Leonard and Asenath Bliss, who with 
three other young people were drowned in Nine Mile Pond, 
Aprjl 29, 1799, and the bodies of the first five who were recovered 
from the waters were brought to this house. 

43. Now owned by A. Linden Bell. Former owners: Merrick 
H. Cooley who built the house in 1886. 

44. Now owned by William A. Mowry. Former owners: 
Henry Bliss, Frank Rindge, Joseph A. Parker, who built the 
house in 1886. 

The Histoht of Wilbbaham 


45. Now owned by Robert P. Trask. Former owners : Henry 
La Broad, Henry Cutler, Lorenzo Bliss who built the house 
probably about 1810. 

46. Now owned by tSe Cutler Co. who built the house about 
1880, on land formerly owned by Lorenzo Bliss. The house is 
now occupied by Benj. Chase, and G. D. Keith who conducts a 
small store. 

47. On east side of street, now owned by heirs of Dennis 
Powers, Dennis Powers, who btiilt the house about 1881. 


48. School House of District No. 8. Built by the town in 
1905 at a total cost of a httle more than $5,000, to replace one 
that was burned on the same ground which was built in 1879 at 
a total expense of $2,411.70. 

396 The History of Wilbkaham 

49. On west side of street, near old Bay Road. Church of St. 
Cecilia, belonging to the Catholic denomination. Erected in 
1890, on land purchased from Warren L. Collins. Just north 
of this church the original Boston Road crosses our Main 

50. On east side of street. Buildings owned by J. M. Perry, 
and used for a garage. A few rods north of this place, the 
Main street turns east and enters the Boston Road, the places 
on which will be given under another heading. 

West Street. Beginning at south line of the town and 

GOING northward TO LuDLOW 

1. Near the southwest comer of the town, Robert W. Day of 
Springfield has recently purchased about 170 acres of land and 
has commenced setting it to young whi^e pine trees. About 
fifty thousand have already been set, and it is intended to 
increase the nimiber to 150,000 in two or three years. A few; 
hundred red pines have been set for ornamental purposes. 
Some of the former owners of the land were, James Phelps, 
Lyman Warner, William Leach, Isaac Leach and others. 

Robert O. Morris of Springfield also has about 25 acres in 
that vicinity. Former owners: S. B. Warner, Wm. Leach, 
Isaac Leach. Mrs. Laura Crane of East Longmeadow has 
about 30 acres near there. Inherited from her husband, 
Sylvester Crane, Jr., who inherited from his father, Sylvester 
Crane Sr., who inherited from Ziba Crane, who purchased of 
Moses Burt in 1833. There are no houses on any of this land. 

2. About one mile north of the south line of our town is the 
first house on West Street. Now owned by State of Mass. 

Former owners: John H. Reader, Wicker, Benjamin 


On both sides of the street at this point is the Mass. Game 
Farm, established by the Commission on Fisheries and Game, 
in 1912. 

,-0- HM- ^Wf^ 

E-i 8 

CQ is 

Pi B 

p g 

a E^ 

o 2 

The Histoby of Wilbbaham 

About 142 acres of land have been purchased of different 
owners, and the following varieties of game are raised, Wood, 
Black and Mallard Duck, Wild Turkey, Reeves, Ringneck 
Pheasant, and Quail. The duck and pheasant are now released 
to go free. 



n ^i/ /'^^^HB 

Pi* a 


ijr X ^^ 


Now home of his bod, Edgar C; Clark, 

3. West Street crosses the Tinkham Road at the four comers, 
formerly called "Wessons Comer." House on west side of 
street. Now owned by heirs of T. H. O'Leary. Former owners: 
Chauncey E, Pfeck^; Thedore Gebo, J. L. S. Wesson, Roswell 
Phelps, who probably settled there about 1822. 

4. On east side of street. ..Now owned by E. A. Gleason. 
Former owners : C. Langdon, Mrs. Ella (Clark) Shaw, Francis 
E. Clark, Dea. Horace Clark. 

The History of Wilbhaham 399 

5. On west side of street, and 15 or 20 rods north of Pole 
Bridge Brook. Now owned by Mrs. James S. Sherwin. Former 
owners: Dea. Henry Clark, Dea. Horace Clark who purchased 
from Alvin and William Vining in 1842. 

6. Now owned by Edgar C. Clark, who inherited it from his 
father Dea. Francis E. Clark. Former owners: Dea. Horace 
Clark, Alden. 

7. Now owned by Gardiner W. Files. Former owners : Frank 
Learned, M. S. Blodgett, Charles C. Learned, Francis J. Warner, 
Samuel Warner and others. A little north of this house was a 
small house which burned. 

8. On east side. House built in 1913 by William Goodrich, 
on land purchased from R. J. Sackett. 

9. At the four comers where Springfield Street crosses West 
Street. On west side of street and south of Springfield Street. 
Now owned by Edmund W. Jones. Former owners: Reuben 
Jones, Lyman Warner, Vashni Warner. 

10. On west side of street, and north side of Springfield Street. 
Now owned by Mrs. James C. Cooley, who inherited it from 
Mrs. Lucinda (Brewer) Cooley. Former owners: Dwight A. 
Brewer, Andrew Brewer, Gains Brewer (?). 

11. On east side of street. Now owned by Miss E. Louise 
Brewer. Former owners: C. A. Brewer, D. A. Atchinson, 
G. S. Atchinson, Benoni Atchinson. 

12. On west side of street. SchooUiouse, District No. 1., 
erected in 1870 to replace one that had become outgrown. 
The school lot was very much enlarged at that time. 

13. A little north of schoolhouse. Now owned by Miss E. 
Louise Brewer. Former owners: Dwight A. Brewer, D. A. 

400 The Histoby of Wilbkaham 

Atchinson, D. L. Atchinson, Nathaniel Atchinson, probably 
Benoni Atchinson. 

14. Now owned by F. A. Bodurtha. Former owners: James 
Richards, D. A. Atchinson, Electa Atchinson, D. L. Atchinson, 
Gilling Atchinson, Benoni Atchinson, Jr., Benoni Atchinson, 
Sr., who settled on the east side of the street, near where the 
well is now, about 1745. His son Joshua was baptised in the 
church here in 1746. The place remained in the possession of 
the Atchinson family for nearly 150 years. 


15. On east side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Lena S. 
White. Former owners: John Duteau, Arthur F. Smith, Mrs. 
Emogene (Atchinson) Wheelock, D. A. Atchinson, D. L. 
Atchinson, Ethan Warriner, Ezra Barker. 

16. On west side. Now owned by Henry M. Bliss and Charles 
B. Hitchcock. Former owners: Henry M. and Myron A. 
Bliss, who inherited it from their father Samuel M. Bliss, who 
moved here in 1847, Richard D. Hudson, John Russell, Ebenezer 
Warner, Benj. Warriner. There are brownstone quarries on 

The History of Wilbhaham 401 

the west part of the farm, which were formerly worked by 
Hudson, the stone being sent to Worcester and Springfield. 
There is a fine view of the moiintains from this place and it is 
appropriately called, "Mountain View Farm." 

17. On east side of street. Now owned by Godeck. 

Former owners: H. H. Burbank, Ephraim Fuller, Jr., Ephraim 
Fuller, Sr. The latter had a reputation for teUing big stories. 
Once he was shingling his bam and carried 1000 shingles up 
the ladder. When he stepped off the ladder onto the staging, 
the staging broke, and he felt himself going down, but he 
caught hold of the lower course of shingles, which were nailed 
to the roof, with his teeth, and held on tmtil a ladder was put 
up to rescue him. Another, which I heard about fifty-five years 
ago. He was out hunting wild pigeons and started a large flock. 
He fired, swinging his gun sideways as he pulled the trigger. 
His aim was a fraction too low. He did not Idll a single pigeon, 
but he picked up two bushels of pigeons legs that his shot had 
cut off. There was a brick in the chimney of this house marked 

18. On west side of street. Now owned by Miss E. Louise 
Brewer. Former owners: D. A. Brewer, Henry Fuller. 

19. Now owned by Nichols Rauh. Former owners: Edwin 
C. Powell, Edward Evans, Mrs. Myra (Kent) Underwood, 
Harvey Kent, Henry Fuller. 

20. A small house just north, belonging to the same place 
and used for a tenement. 

21. Now owned by Clarence E. Pease. Former owners: 

Damon, Cornelius White, W. W. Amadon, Hiram Brewer, 

Lee Rice. 

22. On east side of street. Now owned by Dr. James M. 
Pease, who inherited from his father, Loren C. Pease. Former 
owners: Frank Chaff e, E. Chaffe. 

402 The History of Wilbraham 

23. On west side of street. Now owned by William N. Wallace. 
Former owners, Kate B. Kallman, Patrick Quinlan, who built 
the house in 1870. He had previously lived in a small house on 
the east side of the street, a little way up on the small hill. 

24. "Peggy's Dipping Hole" Road, leading off to the west. 
Just north of this road is the cellar which marks the site of the 
home of E. Russell Warner, which was burned many years 

25. On east side of street. Now OAAmed by John Swain. 
Former owners: Mrs. Ellen Kennedy, E. M. Butterfield, 
Monroe Pease, James C. Pease. 

26. On east side of street. Now owned by Ward A. Allyn, 
who built the house about 1900, in an orchard formerly on the 
estate of James C. Pease. 

27. Now owned by Gilbert H. Pease, who inherited it from his 
father, James C. Pease, who had 16 children bom to him in the 
house which formerly stood on the site of the present house. 

28. On west side of street. Now owned by Charles W. Hardy 
who purchased it about 1908, of Dr. H. 0. Pease, who built the 
house about 1901 on land inherited from his mother. Formerly 
owned by James C. Pease. 

29. On east side, some rods from the street. Now owned by 
Seymour Holland. Former owners: Dr. H. 0. Pease, who 
built the house, Emeline Pease, James C. Pease. 

30. On west side of street. Now owned by Philip Babineau. 
Former owners: Joseph Frederick, E. J. Gendreau, John Trask, 
Henry Trask, who lived there for many years previous to 
about 1870. 

31. On west side of street. Now owned by Robert Welch. 
Former owners : Mary Welch, Patrick Welch, Henry Robbins, 
M. Langdon, who bmlt the house about 1830. 

The History of Wilbraham 403 

32. On east side of street. Now owned by Hermenigile 

Dutille. Former owners: Peon, Michael Fitspatrick, 

William Langdon, Langdon. 

33. On east side of the street. Now owned by William Fitz- 
gerald. Former owners: Timothy Powers, James Powers, who 
built the house, a little north of the site formerly occupied by 
the blacksmith shop of J. P. Streeter. The shop was discon- 
tinued about 1875. 

34. On west side of street. Now owned by James P. McDon- 
ald. Former owners: Mrs. Minerva (Langdon) Streeter, her 
father, Walter Langdon, his father, Capt. Paul Langdon, who 
probably settled here, from South Wilbraham previous to 1800. 
About 1863, in the time of the Civil War, Walter Langdon went 
to the blacksmith shop one morning to hear the war news. 
The Union forces had gained a victory. He became excited, 
and died in a few hours. He was nearly ninety years old. 

35. On west side of street. Now owned by Charles Barcome. 
Former owners: James Powers, Hanson Langdon. 

36. Down the hUl and past the little brook at the foot of the 
hill, on west side of street. Now owned by E. Towne. Former 
owners: Alburtus Langdon, Hanson Langdon. 

37. On east side of street. Now owned by John B. Ebright. 
Former owners: J. Poduski, John Trask. Some 40 or 60 rods 
north of this place. West Street crosses the new section of the 
Boston Road which was constructed in 1896, making a great 
improvement over former conditions. 

38. On east side of street. Now owned by William Lapine 
who built the house about 1908. 

39. On east side of street. Owned by Michael Powers estate. 
Former owners: Michael Powers, William Stevens, Jenks. 

40. On west side, in the triangle made by the new and old 
Boston Roads is an old cemetery, in which a stone tells of the 
death of Roswell P. Stevens, who was killed at the original 

404 The Histoey of Wilbraham 

Wilbraham depot August 10, 1840, "By falling across a Rail 
Road Track, Aged 23." In the record of deaths the first name 
is given as "Parmele." 

41. On west side, very close to the railroad. Now owned by 
John B. Dumane. Former owner, W. Stevens. At this point 
West Street formerly crossed the railroad at a grade crossing. 
In 1883 the course of the road was changed a little way to the ' 
east, an underpass constructed, and the grade crossing abolished. 
The Boston Road formerly ran on the south side of the rail- 
road, some 50 or 80 rods further to the east, and crossed there 
at a grade crossing near where the Wilbraham station was first 
established, which station was moved to the present Oak Street, 
in 1851. 

West Street continued. The following places are all north 
of the railroad in the northwest comer of the town. After 
going through the underpass and entering the original road. 

1. On west side of street. Now owned by John Craig, who 
built the house in 1901. 

2. Now owned by Mrs Mary McFarland. The house was 
erected in 1901. 

3. Now owned by Edward Macdowell who built the house in 

4. On east side of street. Now owned by George F. Perry 
who built it in 1895. 

5. Now owned by Paul L. Levigne. Former owners : Richard 
La Fountain, who built the house in 1888. 

6. On west side of street. Now owned by David Ogilvie. 
Former owners : Michael Leahy, Horace Stevens. 

7. On east side of street. Now owned by Paul L. Levigne 
who btiilt the house in 1914. 

The Histoey of Wilbkaham 


8. On east side of street. Now owned by Frank A. Brodeur. 

Former owners : La Fountain. Mr. Brodeur is employed 

in the wholesale department of the Ludlow Manufacturing 

9. Now owned by Cyrille Brodeur. 
La Fountain. 

Former owner: Joseph 

"In action," 


10. On west side of street. Now owned by Michael Leahy. 
Former owners: James A. Langdon, Horace Stevens. 

11. On east side of street. SchooUiouse, District No. 2. which 
was erected in 1886 at a total expense of $1954.00. Because of 
the pine trees surroimding the location it is appropriately 
called "The Pines." I think that all of the other places on this 
street, to the Springfield line, belong to the Ludlow Manufac- 
tiuing Associates, which have about 60 houses in this vicinity 
which are not entered here individually. 

406 The History of Wilbeaham 

On street leading northeasterly from the underpass towards 
the Chicopee River, sometimes called Bridge Street. 

1. On west side of street. Now owned by George Perry. 

2. On east side. Now owned by Lexyebert Gagne. 

About 30 or 50 rods east of Bridge Street, so called, is an old 
road leading northerly from the old Boston road towards 
Chicopee river. Now, sometimes called River road. On the 
west side of this road and on the north side of the old Boston 
road, is the site of the Elisha Fuller tavern which was moved 
to Indian Orchard station (now called Oak Street) in 1851. 
There are now two houses on this road. 

1. On west side. Now owned by . 

2. Now owned by Peter Biurdon. Former owners: William 
Gorven, Ludlow Mfg. Co., L. H. Brigham, Matthew Welch. 
Fifty years ago this place was known- as the "Red House." 

There is a short street leading from the River Road west to 
Bridge Street, on which three houses have been recently built, 
all on the south side. 

1. Going west from the River Road. Now owned by Amos 

2. Now owned by Louis Pellerin. 

3. Now owned by Charles Lapine. 

The other houses in this vicinity are on the Boston Road. 

Ridge Road or Mountain Road 

This road formerly ran north and south nearly the entire 
length of the original Wilbraham. That part of it which runs 
south from the four comers, at the top of the mountain, where 
the Monson Road crosses it, was discontinued as a highway. 

The History of Wilbraham 407 

about 1870, and called a "Bridle Path." This south part was 
laid out by the town in 1769, in consequence of a "Petition by 
Joseph Jones to lay a Road back side of Bauld Mountain." 
It commenced near what is now called "Burleighs comer," as 
follows: "Beginning at Black oak staddle on the Middle Road 
about 40 rods north of Serg. Bangs fence," then north in all 
330 rods, "to a stake and stones the east side of Joseph Jones 
house, then as the path now goes the east side of Joseph Masons 
house" — then past the west side of Perminas (?) Kings house, 
"then north by east the west side of Rattle Snake Peak, so 
called, to the Road formerly laid out by Springfield." (Monson 
Road.) So it appears there were three houses on that road in 
1769, where there are none now. The road continues on to the 
north, until it enters the Old Bay Road, now called Maple 
Street at North Wilbraham. I have called this road Ridge 
Road because the name is so descriptive of the locality. For 
about one mile north of the Monson Road, there are no houses 
now, although several cellar holes, along the road, show where 
there were houses once. 

Among them, are the colonial homes of Cadwell, Webster, 
Chapin, who is said to have brought the first rat to town, in a 
sack of wool purchased in Rhode Island. Ezra Barker, Town 
Clerk for many years, lived on this road. 

Some of these cellar holes, near the four corners, -mark the 
place where the men went in the night time, to dig for "Cap. 
Kidd's Gold," about 1850. 

1. A little more than one mile north of where the Ridge Road 
crosses the Monson Road, some 50 to 70 rods east, is the first 
house on this road. Now owned by George W. Ely, or by his 
daughter, Mrs. Edith (Ely) Patterson. Former owners: An- 
drew Anderson, , Solomon Brewer, D. L. Atchinson, 

, Judah Ely probably lived here about 1810. 

2. Some 30 or 50 rods east of the Ely place is another house, 
now owned by George W. Ely, who built it about 1900. Mr. 
Ely owns several large tracts of land in this vicinity. 


The Histoby of Wilbraham 

3. On west side of road. The old stone chimney still standing 
marks the site of the- Webster house. The place is now owned 
by George W. Ely. Former owners : Orrin Webster, Moses K. 
Bartlett, S. Bartlett. Just north of this chimney is the road 
leading down to Wilbraham centre. 

4. On east side of road opposite the old chimney. House, 
now owned by Mrs. Edith (Ely) Patterson. Former owners: 
Roswell P. Mills, Orrin Webster. 

Now owned by Misa Effie L. Morgan. 

5. On west side of road. Monus Konus Bungalow. Now 
owned by Miss Effie L. Morgan. Former owners : Mrs. W. F. 
Morgan. Erected in 1910 on land formerly owned by Charles 
Tupper, Jennie E. T. Dowe, R. P. Mills, J. Duncan, Jonathan 
Ely. This was the first bungalow erected on the mountain. 
About 1850, a small shoemakers shop stood near, and that 
business was carried on by Jonathan Ely and his son Dixon. 

6. On east side of road. Now owned by Mr. and Mrs. W. F. 
Morgan. Former owners: William B. Morgan, Jonathan Ely. 

The History of Wilbhaham 


A little south of the Morgan place is the site of the Ely house 
which was burned about 1888. 

7. On west side of road. Now owned by Louis G. Stacy. 
Former owners: George W. Tupper, William Tupper, Warren 
Collins, Capt. James Shaw, who commanded the company that 
responded to the Bennington alarm in 1777. The house for- 
merly stood on the east side of the road, where the bam now is. 
It is said, that Warren Collins and his wife cared for Captain 
and Mrs. Shaw in their last days.. He died in 1831. Mr. 


Standing on the site of the second schoolhouse wliich was erected in the town. 
Ezra Barker was a teacher here. 


Stacy is the seventh generation of the Stacy family that have 
lived in town. 

8. West side of road. Now owned by Herbert E. Tupper. 
Former owners: Edwin L. Tupper, who purchased the place in 
1842 of WilHam Bliss, it being part of the original Bliss farm. 
Mr. Tupper is the rural mail carrier on the R. F. D. route and 
is famUliarly called "Bert" by those whom he serves. On the 

410 The History of Wilbbaham 

east side of the road is the site of a house formerly the home of 
Mr. B. P. Green, and of his parents. 

9. On east side of road, and on north side of the road, leading 
eastward to East Street. Schoolhouse of District No. 5. This 
schoolhouse formerly stood about one-half mile further north, 
and was moved to the present location in 1881. 

10. On west side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Edith Miniter 
Former owners: John Hitchcock, John Thayer, Samuel M. 
Bliss, J. Bliss. The house was built in 1830 by Samuel M. Bliss. 
It is said that the town's poor were kept in this house about 
1845-50. A very tall oak tree stood near this house, and was sold 
by John Thayer, about 1857, for $100, to make a mast for a ship. 

11. East side of road. Now owned by Thomas Lyons. For- 
mer owner: D. N. Haskell. 

12. On east side. Now owned by Benj. F. Green. Former 
owners: Miss Angeline Woodward and her sister Jerusha 
Woodward, Dea. Aaron Woodward. This place was known for 
many years as "The Deacon Woodward place." Deacon 
Woodward settled here, probably about the year 1803. In the 
records of the First Congregational Church is this entry, "Jan. 
1.. 1804, Rev. Aaron Woodward & his wife were admitted by 
letter from the church of Christ in Wilten (?) Norwalk Conn." 
Elizabeth; his daughter, was bom here April — , 1804. Deacon 
Woodward died February 21, 1840, aged 79 years. He never 
served here as a pastor, but was a deacon for many years. 
There is a stone in the underpinning of the house marked 1769. 
Probably Oliver Bliss lived here at that time. 

13. On east side. Now owned by T. D. or Charles S. Potter. 
Former owners: Miss Abbie Spear who inherited it from her 
mother, Mrs. Antoinette (Bliss) Spear. John Bliss, Oliver 
Bliss, Ensign Abel Bliss. It is now used for a suburban home. 
(See History.) 

Mr. Potter has built on this property, in the last two years, 
three or four bungalows, some 70 rods west of the road. 

The History of Wilbeaham 


14. On east side of road. Now owned by William Whitney. 
The house was built by Lawrence Wrinkle about 1883 and 
being visible at quite a distance from the east, is sometimes 
called "The Lighthouse." 

A little north of this place, the Ridge Road enters what was 
formerly the "Old Bay Road," and turns to the west, and 
continues along what is now called Maple Street, until it 

Taken on East Street, just over the line in the present town of Hampden. 

enters the original Main Street, near the garage of J. M. Perry. 
(See Maple Street.) 

East Street 

In 1767, the town "new laid the Third Road in this Town 
(so called) as^ follows." "Beginning near the south side of 
Jabes Hendricks Lot — thence northerly." They ran the line 
from one tree to another. (In all 81 trees are mentioned.) 


The Histoet of Wilbeaham 

Also, "near Caleb Stebbins Bam — ^near Daniel Cadwells 
House — to a White Rock on the north side of Twelve Mile 
Brook — to a Bl,ack Rock North of Stebbins Mill— then to the 
Bay Road by a Pine Tree." It is interesting to recall these 
ancient boundaries. The White Rock is still there. It is on 
the west side of the road" and is about four or five feet in diameter. 

East Street, beginning at Hampden line and going north. 


1. On east side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Leola (Blan- 
chard) Edson. Former owners: Mrs. Sophronia (Calkins) 
Blanchard, Mrs. Lucia (Day) Calkins, A. Jackson' Blanchard, 
Susan Lamson, Shadrach Thayer, Abisha Blanchard, Eleazer 
Bishop, Peter Walbridge, 1806, Moses Hancock, Amos Beebe, 
Judah Wiley, 1793. First cultivated strawberries in this neigh- 
borhood were raised by Shadrach Thayer. 

2. On west side. Now owned by John Francovitz. Former 
owners : Wm. A. Rice, Mrs. Mary (Carpenter) Rice, her father, 

The History of Wilbkaham 


Dr. Wm. Carpenter, Capt. John Carpenter, Moses Hancock, 
Jr., Moses Hancock, Mrs. Wealthy (Bishop) Hancock was the 
"yarb docter" of the neighborhood, and her "Bee Bahn" 
grows there beside the wall today as it did one hundred years 

3. Now owned by Kamey NetupsH. Former owners : Sophia 
Seagal, Mrs. A. J. Blanchard, A. Jackson Blanchard, Abishia 

The only district keeping its original number. 

Blanchard, Moses Hancock, 
Nathan Mack. 

Gilligan, Ithamar Bliss, 

This was among the first places in town purchased by persons 
of the Jewish nationality, about 1902. All the residents agree 
that they were good neighbors, but they only remained a short 

4. Now owned by Kamey Netupski. Former owners: Sophia 
Seagal, Mrs. A. J. Blanchard, and W. A. ' Mowry, Sophia 

414 The History of Wilbkaham 

Knowlton, Moses Hancock, Jr., Webster, Gilligan, 

Carpenter. The house was burned some years ago, but 

some of the other buildings are still standing. This place was 
known for a long time as the Dennis Knowlton place. 

5. About one-quarter of a mile north of the Knowlton place 
the street crosses the Monson Road. On the west side of the 
street, and on north side of Monson Road is the Glendale 
Cemetery. Probably established previous to 1800. 

6. Opposite the cemetery on east side of street is the Glendale 
Methodist Episcopal Church, which was erected in 1868. 
The Duty Partridge house stood many years ago, just north of 
the site of the church. 

7. On east side. Now owned by Albert L. Farr who built the 
house in 1913, on land purchased of his father, James H. Farr. 
This is the first new house built in this vicinity for several years. 

8. On east side of road. Schoolhouse, District No. 7. For- 
merly called the Chapin District. 

9. On west side. Now owned by James H- Farr. Former 
owners: Wm. P. Clark, George Edson, Isaac N. Chapin, 
Solomon Chapin, Zebulon Chapin, Samuel Bishop, 1777. The 
south part of the farm is on the overplus land and was pur- 
chased of the town of Wilbraham in 1773. Isaac Chapin had a 
Brandy Still just north of the bam on this place. At the time 
when the temperance wave was sweeping over the land, about 
1845, the still caught fire. The neighbors gathered, but they 
were glad to see it go, and would not lift a finger to help Mr. 
Chapin put out the fire, although he begged them with tears 
to aid him. It is said that Zebulon Chapin, father of Isaac, 
lived about 50 rods east of the Ridge Road, near the top of the 
mountain, and that several rock maples now mark the site of 
his house, and that his 12 children were bom there, from 1769 
to 1791. He gave this place to his son Isaac. 

10. On east side of road. Cellar hole. Now owned by Henry 
I. and Clarence E. Edson. Former owners: Cyrus F. Edson, 

The History of Wilbkaham 



View showing one of the industries in which Mr. Seaver is interested. 

416 The History of Wilbbaham 

Benjamin Edson, 1802, Justin Stebbins, Zebtilon Chapin 1783, 
Caleb Stebbins, 1739, Daniel Warner. The old deed was part 
of lots 114, 115 and 116. 

11. On east side. House now abandoned, formerly Chaimcey 
Bishop place. 

12. On east side of road. Now owned by Dwight W. Eddy. 
Former OTOiers: Eleazer Bishop, Shubal Davis, Nathaniel 
Knowlton, Orson Holdrich, Elmer Lemon, Albert Bliss, Anna 

13. On west side of road. Now owned by J. L. Brooks. 

Former owners: Perkins, Allyn M. Seaver, Mrs. Almira 

Davis, George Stebbins. 

14. ■ On east side of road. Now owned by Allya M. Seaver. 
Former owners: A. Delos Seaver, Jason Stebbins, Frederick 
Stebbins, Caleb Stebbins, David Chapin, Jr., in 1751. This is 
said to be part of the original lot, 105, allotted to Japhet 
Chapin in 1685, and came to his son Daniel in 1685. Many 
Indian relics have been found on this farm. 

15. On east side of road. Now owned by Herbert H. Graves. 
Former owners: Goldie Frankel, A. M. Seaver, A. Delos 

Seaver, Francis Knowlton, N. Knowlton, Cadwell, Capt. 

Daniel Cadwell, who from 1737 to 1764 bought of Samuel 
Warner, David Warriner, Isaac Brewer, the east end of lots 
97 to 102. The deed from Samuel Warner reads, "From Brim- 
field line, west, to a gutter where a road is to be laid out." 
(Ridge Road.) It is said that the early settlers got bog iron 
ore near the brook east of the house, and that Temperance 
Day Knowlton raised silk worms with considerable success at 
the time of the silk industry excitement. This was one of the 
places purchased by the society for the promotion of agricul- 
ture among the Jews a few years ago. 

16. On west side of road. Now owned by Joshua L. Brooks. 
Former owners: A. M. Seaver, Oscar F. Benedict, John Bul- 
lard, Stephen Cadwell. Capt. Daniel Cadwell purchased of 
Nathaniel Warriner in 1764. Being the east end of lot 96, 





The Histohy of Wilbbaham 419 

22 rods, 2 feet and 9 inches wide. Mr. Brooks purchased the 
place in 1903. He was instrumental in getting the telephone 
line established in this vicinity. He has called the place 
"Brookmont." Mr. Brooks is now President of the Springfield 
Board of Trade. 

17. East side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Edna Metcalf. 
Former owners: A. M. Seaver, Mrs. Joseph (Shields) Baldwin, 

Sextus Shields, Sheldon. Many Indian relics have been 

found on this place, and on many other places in this vicinity. 

18. On west side of road. Cellar hole. Formerly owned by 
James Calkins, also by James W. Bennett. 

19. On east side of. road. Now owned by Fred C. Phelps. 
Former owners : George W. Ely, George Leadbetter, James W. 
Bennett who built the house. 

20. On east side of road. Now owned by J. Addison Bennett. 
Purchased from John Rindge. There are some curious stones 
on this place which may have done service for the Indians. 

21. On west side of road. Now owned by George L. Rindge. 
Former owners : Lucius Rindge, Royal R. Rindge. This place, 
having been occupied by the Rindge family for more than one 
hundred years, is very appropriately called "Century Home- 

Continuing this road in a northerly direction for about half 
a mile. 

On east side of road there is a cellar hole which marks the 
site of a house burned several years ago. The place is now 
owned by Henry M. Green. Former owners: Mrs. Julia 
(Butler) Green, Benjamin Butler, Orsemus Smith, Alvin 
Bennet. Mr. Orsemus Smith was killed on the railroad near 
the North Wilbraham station about 1867, and Mrs. Smith 
drowned herself and her child in the brook east of the house 
about 1872. . 

22. On east side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Amelia L. 
Hollingsworth. Her husband built the house about 1867. On 












The History of Wilbhaham 


east side is the site of the first mill in this vicinity formerly 
owned by E. B. Gates, Dr. Shearer, Benjamin Butler. 

23. On east side of road. Now owned by H. and M. Elpert. 


A red oak tree standing at the inteisection of the roads just north of the "Century 
Homestead." Girth is 16 feet, at 3 feet above the ground. The view is looking northerly. 

Former owners: Frank Rindge, Charles Rindge, Benjamin 
Butler, Artemus Knowlton. 

After passing over Eleven MUe Brook (sometimes called 
Twelve Mile.) 


Born at Palmer in 1823. He was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1851. Most 
of his service as a clergyman was in other states. He retired from the active ministry in 
1893. He was the oldest man in town and held the Boston Post cane. Died December 12, 
1914, in his ninety-second year. 

The History of Wilbkaham 423 

24. On the east side of the road is the home of Rev. Charles 
H. Gates. Former owners: Asa Gates, Dr. Shearer. Rev. Mr. 
Gates was bom in Wilbraham in 1823, and is now the oldest 
man in town. 

25. On east side. Owned by estate of E. O. Gates. Former 
owner: E. B. Gates. 

26. On west side of road. Owned by estate of E. O. Gates. 
Formerly used as a residence by one of the managers of the mill. 

27. On east side. Estate of E. O. Gates. Also used as a 
residence by one of the managers. Former owners: D. W. 
Ellis, Benjamin Butler. 

28. On west side of road. House, owned by Estate of E. O. 
Gates. These last five places were formerly the property of 
Dwight W. Ellis, Gates and Nelson, Stebbins and others, and 
were used as homes for the help employed in the saw mill, 
grist mill, and woolen mills, some of which were operated here, 
from about 1762, until recently, using the power furnished by 
the brook. The road formerly -yyent over the railroad at a 
grade crossing, and entered the Boston Road, between the 
houses now owned by E. N. Lyman arid Bradway and Warren. 
Now the road nms under the railroad, at an underpass several 
rods west- of the former crossing, and enters the Boston 

East Street, completes the list of roads running north and 
south through the town. We will now commence on the roads 
running east and west in our territory, beginning with the 
most northerly one. 

Old Boston Road 

Going east from Springfield line 

1. Near Springfield line. Now owned by estate of John 

About one-third of a mile east from the Springfield line, the 
Boston Road enters West Street, turns to the north and runs 





TpE History of Wilbkaham 425 

under the railroad at the underpass and turns again to the 
east. The houses on the road are as follows: 

1. On north side of road and a little east of the underpass. 
House now owned by William Lapine. 

2. Now owned by John W. Powers, who built the house 

3. On south side of road between it and the raUroad. Now 
owned by Alexander Cormack. Former owners: Thomas 
Patterson, Michael Powers. 

4. A little east of Cormack house. Now owned by James 
Flanigan. This place was owned or occupied for many years 
by C. M. WUlard, who conducted the saw mill on the south 
bank of Chicopee river. The first railroad station in Wilbra- 
ham was established here, probably between these last two 
houses. The road continues on about half a mile and crosses 
the railroad by an overhead bridge and again connects with the 
new Boston Road. Just before crossing the railroad, on the 
north side of the road is the cellar hole which marks the site of 
the house of Patrick Moran. This crossing is still called 
" Moran's crossing." It was formerly a grade crossing, eight or 
ten rods ftirther to the east. 

Following along the road, on the south side of the railroad, 
about half a mile to the east. 

5. On north side of road. Now owned by George C. Rose. 
Former owners: Allyn M. Seaver, James W. Bennett who 
built the first house there about 1900 and which was burned 
some years later and the present house erected. The place has 
been called Overlook Poultry Farm. 

6. Now owned by C. W. Parish. Former owner, Abram 
Simons, who manufactured cigars. 

7. On south side of road. Now owned by heirs of Levi R. 
Bliss. Former owner: L. Ruggles BHss who built the house, 
about 1840. Known as Minnechaug Farm and as a summer 






428 The History of Wilbhaham 

8. On south side of road, near the edge of Nine Mile Pond. 
14 cottages, property of Mrs. F. A. Towne of Springfield. 
Mostly used for summer residences. 

9. On north side of road. Now owned by Lewis C. Tripp. 
Built in 1912. 

10. On south side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Mary P. 
Moore. Former owners: Mrs. E. B. Gates. Mrs Dexter 
Tufts, Mr. Fred Pease, Marshall A. Lane. 

11. On north side. Now owned by Marshall A. Lane and 
built by him in 1912. 

12. On north side of road. Auto Inn. Now owned by Wil- 
liam E. Liversage. Former owners: Marshall A. Lane, Augus- 
tus J. Lane, , Captain Shepard, a retired sea captain, 

whose sailboat contained the victims of the Nine Mile Pond 
accident in 1799. (See History.) 

13. The "Island." Now called Bungalow Point, Nine Mile 
Pond. Now owned by Mrs. J. N. Northrop who owns ten 
cottages there which her husband commenced to biaild about 
1909. Occupied in summer by families for vacation purposes. 
Open May 1 to October 15. These cottages are on a peninsula 
which extends into the pond from the east shore. 

14. On south side of road, and east side of Nine Mile Pond. 
Club House. Owned by the Manchonis Club of Springfield, 
formerly Bicycle Club. House built about 1888. 

North of Auto Inn, and a little north of the Boston & Albany 
railroad are two houses, connected with the Boston Road by a 
cart path. Begiiming at the west. 

1. Home of Mrs. Daniel Sweeny. Formerly owned by 
Timothy Donovan, who probably built the house about 1880. 

2. Home of Thomas J. Murphy. Formerly owned by Michael 

The History of Wilbhaham 429 

15. On north side of road. Now owned by John Powers. 
Former owners: Mrs A. E. Clark, Lester Squire, who built 
the house in 1872. 

16. Bungalow, built in 1913 by George J. Frost. 

17. On north side. Now owned by Maurice DriscoU. Former 
owners : . William Ramsdell, George Lane, Augustus Lane. 

18. On north side. Now owned by Bernard Lynch. Former 
owner, Augustus Lane. A little east of this place the Boston 
road enters the main street leading to Wilbraham centre. 

Present Boston Road (Now Main Street, North Wilbraham) 

Going east from the point where the Main Street of the 
town enters the Boston Road. 

1. On south side of road. Now owned by Mary Dempsey. 
Former owner: Augustus F. Friend who built the house about 

2. On south side. Now owned by Augustus F. Friend. 
Former owner: James W. Bennett who built the house about 

3. On north side of road. Toiyn library. Former owners: 
Henry Cutler, James W. Bennett, who built the house about 
1875. This place was conveyed to the town by the will of 
Henry Cutler, subject to the life use of Abner E. Bell, which 
use expired at the decease of Mr. Bell in 1912. It was fitted 
up for its present use at an expense of about $2,500, paid by 
the town. 

4. On south side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Anna (Bennett) 
Fuller, whose husband, Charles F. Fuller, built the house in 

5. On north side. Now owned by Mrs. Emma (Collins) 
Mowry. House built in 1886 by her husband De Witt Mowry. 


The Histoky of Wilbkaham 

6. On south side of road. Present owner. Ernest L. Thomp- 
son who built the house in 1909 and who is employed as pay- 
master by the Fred T. Ley Co. 

7. On north side. Now owned by Mrs. Lizzie (Collins) 
Warren. Formerly owned by W. L. Collins who built the house 


in 1897 on site of the home of Warren Collins which burned in 
1895. The, old house was used as the second depot. 

Part of this house has been used for several years as the 
home and village millinery store, of Mrs. L. E. Hawley. 

8. On north side of road. Present site of Boston and Albany 
depot. The station was probably established here about 1852, 
called " Collins Depot." 

The History of Wilbbaham 




The History of Wilbkaham 

9. On south side. HoUister Block. Now used as postoffice 
and James Logan's drug and grocery store. Now owned by 
Julia F. HoUister of Lee, Mass., and built by Frank HoUister 
and T. Hulbert. 

10. On north side of road. Bradway's grocery store. Owned 
and built by Nelson Bradway in 1912 on site of former post- 
oflfice and store occupied by E. B. Gates, Charles Stacy and 

A store has been kept on this site for many years. 

others. The road formerly crossed the railroad, at a grade 
crossing, just east of the station. 

11. On south side of road. Collins Inn. Now owned by 
Mrs. Emma (Collins) Mowry. Built by W. L. Collins in 1874 
and has been the Central Telephone Station since the line was 
first established. A livery stable has been kept in connection 
with this house for many years. 

The History of Wilbbaham 


12. On south side of road. Small house. Now owned by 
Mrs. Emma (Collins) Mowry. Former owners : W. L. Collins, 
Warren Collins who built it in 1847. This building was the 
first railroad station and stood on the site of the present depot. 

13 and 14. On north side. Two small buildings, owned by 
estate of W. L. Collins. Built about 1880. One formerly used 
by town for storage purposes, and the other a meat market. 


Owned by Mrs. Emma (Collins) Mowry. 

Formerly home of W. Levi Collins. 

15. On south side of road. Building owned by Joseph Bald- 
win's heirs, and used by Frank A. Fuller as a general grocery 
store. Built about 1892 on the site of a cheese factory, which 
was erected about 1867, and which was burned. 

16. On south side. Blacksmith shop. Now owned by Mrs. 
Emma (Collins) Mowry. Former owner: W. L. Collins, who 


The Histokt of Wilbhaham 

built it in 1887. The road now runs by the underpass, under 
the railroad. We will complete the list of places in North 
Wilbraham village, before continuing along the rest of this 

The Original Boston Road 

Now called Maple Street, at North Wilbraham. Going east 
from the main street of the town. 


1. On north side of street. Now owned by John Baldwin, 
postmaster. Former owners: Joseph Baldwin, John Baldwin, 
who kept a tavern from 1836 to 1860 or 1865. Formerly called 
"Ten Mile House." 

2. On north side, 
house in 1894. 

Now owned by Frank A. Fuller who btiilt 

3. On south side of street. Home of J. M. Perry who built 
house in 1886 on land purchased of Joseph Baldwin. 

The History of Wilbkaham 


4. On north side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Anna Miller. 
Former owner: Marshall Wright who btiilt the house about 

5. Parsonage of Grace Union Church built in 1890 by the 
Ladies' Aid Society. 

6. South side of street. Present owner, Frank A. Fuller, mer- 
chant. Former owner, Hiram Dahks who built house in 1877 
on land purchased from John Baldwin. This was the site of an 

old blacksmith shop, 
occupied about 1868 to 
1871 by E. M. Barry. 

7. North side of street. 
Present owner, Mrs. 
Frances E. Wall, widow 
of Edwin Wall, who 
built house in 1891 on 
land purchased of W. L. 
Collins. Mr. Wall was 
Town Clerk for many 

8. On south side of 
street. House owned 
and built by Joseph 
Baldwin 1914. 


Standing in the ^ard, near the home of Mrs. Joseph 

Baldwin, at North Wilbraham. 

9 and 10. On north 
side of street. Two 
houses owned by H. W. Cutler. They were built in 1877 by 
the late Henry Cutler. This is practically the site of the old 
Sikes tavern of colonial times. Marcus Lyons body was left 
here, and the inquest was held here, when the tavern was 
managed by a Mr. Calkins. Also site of first home of Warren 
Collins. The garden of this estate was the scene of the 
cantata presented during the anniversary in June 1913, by the 
young people of North Wilbraham imder the direction of Mrs. 
H. W. Cutler. 

436 The History of Wilbraham 

11. On south side. Home of Mrs. Maria Baldwin. House 
built by her husband, Joseph Baldwin on the site of the Glover 
tavern. The barn stands on, or near, the site of a Revolutionary- 
blacksmith shop, probably . the one where several witnesses 
observed the movements of Halligan and Daly, murderers of 
Marcus Lyon. 

12. On south side of street. Present owner, Timothy Keefe 
who built house in 1905. 

13. On north side of street. Now owned by Herbert F. 
Green. Built about 1898 by Frank H. Strickland. 

Chapel. Street 
Going north to Boston Road from Maple Street. 

1. East side of street. Grace Union Church. Built in 1876 
on land given to the society by Warren Collins. (See History.) 

2. On east side. Present owner. Dr. A. L. Damon. Former 
' owners: Charles E. Garvin, Charles E. Stacy, who built the 

house in 1878. 

3. On west side of street. Owned by estate of E. B. Gates. 
Built by E. B.' Gates in 1879. 

4. On east side. Owned by Collins Manufacturing Company, 
who built house about 1872. It has been occupied a large part 
of the time by some of the superintendents of the paper mill. 

A short street, going north from Maple Street to Boston 
Road, a little west of Chapel Street. 

1. On east side of street. House owned by estate of E. B. 
Gates. Built by Miss Harriet Gates. 

2. On east side. Now owned by Mrs. Emma (Collins) 
Mowry. Former owner. Miss Caroline Collins. Built by 
Warren Collins in 1861. 


Born at Wilbraham in 1827. Merchant and Postmaster at North Wilbraham for many 
years. Served as Town Clerk and Treasurer, also aa Selectman for several terms. Died 
in 1914, aged 87 years. 


438 The History of Wilbraham 

Going north on the road from the Boston & Albany under- 
pass at North Wilbraham, to Ludlow line, at bridge over 
Chicopee River. 

On both sides of this road and at some distance west of the 
road are about' fifteen or twenty houses and also the paper 
mills of the Collins Mfg. Co., and the grain mills of the Cutler 
Co. There was formerly a large growth of trees on this land 
and from 1857 to 1864 it was used as a campmeeting ground by 
the Springfield District Methodist Conference, in the summer 
of each year. The houses of the Collins Mfg. Co. are not 
entered here separately. 

1. On west side of road. Now owned by Flavel D. Benton. 

2. On west side. Present owner, Thomas Lines. Former 
owner, Joseph Parker, who built, the house about 1878. 

Near, and just north of railroad track. 

1. Poolroom. 

2. House now owned by Mrs. Margaret Fitzgerald. Former 
owner, Phineas Knowlton. 

Before the present underpass was constructed the road 
crossed the railroad at a grade crossing, just east of the railroad 
station, and ran down towards the river, just west of this house. 

Boston Road (continued) 

After passing through North Wilbraham village and going, 
by the underpass beneath the Boston & Albany railroad, the 
road continues along eastward neai* the Chicopee river, without 
any houses on it, for about half a mile. After crossing Eleven 
Mile Brook the first house is : 

1. On north side of road. Now owned by Mrs. George Cady. 
Former owners: Henry C. Butler, Benjamin Butler. A little 
east of this place is the site of the old Toll Gate. 

The Histoby of Wilbhaham 439 

2. South side of road. Now owned by Edward N. Lyman. 
Former owner Benjamin Butler. Called the "Bliss Place." 

3. On north side. Now owned by Mrs. Herbert F. Green. 
Former owners: Henry C. Butler, Col. Benjamin Butler, who 
was a colonel in the militia about 1838. 

4. On south side of road. Present owners: F. Warreli and 

Now owned by his granddaughter, Mrs. Herbert (Butler) Green, 

N. Bradway. Former owners: Walter Green, Benjamin 
Butler. Csdled the ' ' Kilbom Place. ' ' 

5. On north side. Cement house owned by A. L. Warriner 
who built the house in 1908 on land purchased of Jason Butler 
whose house was burned in 1907. 

6. On north side. House moved from Lyon place on Ridge 
Road about 1850. Present owner, James K. Butler. Former 
owner, Benjamin Butler, about 1870. 


A teacher in the public scbools for several years. Member of School Committeet of 
Selectmen, Representative to the Legislature. A son of Col. Benjamin Butler. 

The History of Wilbkaham 
7. On north side. Present owner, James K. Butler. 


8. On north side of road. Now owned by Mrs. Mary Ash. 
Known as the "Seth Knowlton Place." A store was kept here 
for several years. 

9. On south side. Present owner, 

Smith. Charles 

Ulrich and Thomas Marshall were former owners. 

^■j,_ , :jf-%j 



10. On north side of road. Now owned by C. W. Vinton. 
Former owner: Benjamin Butler. On the east side of this 
place, a road runs northerly to Three Rivers. 

11. On north side of Boston Road. Now owned by James S. 
Morgan, who built house in 1879. 

12. On north side. Schoolhouse, District No. 6. 

13. On north side. Now owned by Mrs. Ines Perry. This 
was formerly a methodist meeting house. 


The History of Wilbraham 

14. On south side of road. The meeting house of the Christian 
Union Society. This was erected in 1868 on land given to the 
society by Col. Benjamin Butler. 

15. Some little distance north of the road. Now owned by 
Benjamin B. Green. Former owners: Palmer Savings Bank, 
Samuel Swift, Rufus Graves, George Burr. 

16. On south side. Now owned by Alphonsus L. Boylan. 
Former owner, Daniel Hovey. 


This schoolhouse formerly stood about a mile to the north and was moved to the present 

17. On north side. Now owned by Mrs. Henry Green. 

18. A little north of road. The East Wilbraham Cemetery. 

19. On south side. Now owned by Henry M. Green. Former 
owners: Walter M. Green, Alonzo Ingraham, Elisha Burr. 
Just east of this house there was once a "store," where it is 
said that "booze" was sold in former days. 

20. On north side of road. Now owned by Carlos Alden. 
Former owner, Joshua Alden. 

The History of Wilbkaham 443 

21. On north side. Now owned by Mrs. George Chandler. 
Former owner, Mrs. Loren Bishop, who built house about 1897. 

22. On south side of road. Present owner, D. C. Griswold. 

Former owners: Theodore Jones, Jason Jones, . Perhaps 

Ezekiel Terry conducted his printing business at this place, for 
a short time, about 1810. This is the last place in Wilbraham 
on the Boston Road. 

Going north from No. 6 schoolhouse towards "Red Bridge" 
and Three Rivers. 

1. Owned by Consigne. Formerly, A. Knowlton. 

2. Owned by F. M. Angell. Formerly, A. Chilson. 

3. Owned by Smith. Formerly, H. Burr. , . 

4. Owned by Andrew Clealand. Formerly, P. P. Potter. 

Going south from Boston Road, the next road running east 
and west across the town, is from Ridge Road to East Street. 

On road leading from No. 5 schoolhouse east to East Street, 
near the home of George Rindge. 

1. On the hill east of the schoolhouse three bungalows have 

recently been built, owned by George Chapin, Bates, 


2. On the north side of the road. House owned by Benjamin 
F. Green and built about 1880. 

These are the only houses now on this road. 

Going south on Main Street, nearly two miles from the 
Boston road, we come to Faculty Street, leading ofE to the 
west from Main Street. 

444 The History op Wilbraham 

Faculty Street, going west from Main Street- 
All the houses are on north side of street. 

1. Wilbraham Academy Dormitory, a little west of the 
principal's house. Was built in 1827, on the site of the present 
principal's house and used as such for twenty-eight years, when 
it was removed to present location and fitted up for students. 

2. Now owned by John Kelley and built by him about 1904. 
Previous owner. Rev. FranHin Fisk. 

3. Mrs. S. F. White the present owner, inherited from her 
husband, Rev. Lorenzo White, who bought from Nancy and 
Margaret Burt. Perry Goodale and William H. Bussell who 
may have built the house were former owners. 

4. Present owner, William D. Bridge, Orange, N. J. Former 
owners were Mrs. Abigail L. Bridge and Albert Smith, a sea 
captain. This was the home of Timothy D. Smith, killed in a 
skirmish at JefESrsonville, Va., April G"", 1865. 

5. Owned by C. Francis Home. Former owners were Mrs. 
L. S. Nesmith, who was a large collector of antiques and curios. 
Mrs. F. A. Billings, Mrs. H. J. French, Mrs. S. A. Curtis, Prof. 
Oliver Marcy, who built it. 

6. Estate of Rev. Charles Noble. Occupied by his daughter 
Lucretia Gray Noble. 

7. Present owner, James Ritchie. Former owners: C. W. 
Vinton and sister, C. H. Vinton, E. Munsell, Betsey H. Smith 
and I. H. Plumley. 

This road was laid out in 1764. "The Road to begin from 
the Road or Street that David Warriner lives upon or the 
Main Road leading to Samuel Glovers, — on the north side of 
the lot originally laid out to John Dorchester (No. 96) and 
now owned by David Warriner Extending west across .Cowpen 
Meadow Swamp." 

The History of Wilbeaham 445 

- Going south on Main Street from Faculty Street, we come 
to the road leading eastward up to the Ridge road. There 
are now no houses on that road. 

Springfield Street, going west from Main Street. 

1. First house west of Phillips' store. Now owned by Edith 
A. Holman. Former owners: Phebe A. Holman, Cecelia B. 
Chilson, Emeline R. Sterling and Catharine B. Sherman, 
Lucinda D. Moody, Nancy B. Moody, Gaius Brewer. The 
blacksmith shop of John Brewer, and of his father Gaius 
Brewer, stood just east of the present house. About 1850, a 
six or eight years old boy and his sister were sent on an errand 
to this place. They found the lady of the house smoking her 
pipe, (something not tmusual in those days). In order to 
attend to their errand she was obliged to leave the room for a 
few minutes and laid down her pipe. The children took several 
whiffs from it before she returned, and soon the floor of the 
room seemed to them to be whirling around and the sides of the 
house falling in. They got out of the house and ate some sorrel 
which they found near the shop, and hurried home. But the 
doctor had to be called before their troubles were ended. The 
"Boy" told me the story only a few days ago. 

2. Owned by Anna A. Peck who built the house in 1893. 
Previous owners: Anna A. Peck and Mrs. Elvira L. Childs, 
Phebe A. Holman. 

3. Present owner, Carrie A. Moody. Former owners : David 

K. Merrill, Spaulding, William Brewer, John and Henry 

Brewer. House supposed to have been built by Lee Rice. 

4. First house on south side of Springfield Street. Now owned 
by William H. Foster. Former owners: Dr. James M. Foster, 
Mrs. Lottie (Kent) -Cross, William Kent who built the house. 
In 1812, the town purchased the land where this house stands, 
(or very near it) for a Town Pound, described partly as follows : 
"Beginning at the bars north of William Brewer's cider mill, 

446 The Histohy of Wilbeaham 

about 20 rods west of Gaius Brewer's blacksmith shop, — 
bounded north on the lane." So it appears that our present 
Springfield Street was called a lane in 1812. 

5. Just west of the Foster house. Now owned by Mrs. Ellen 
M. Stephens, who inherited it from her husband, James 
Stephens. Former owners : Dr. C. W. Cross, W. Kent. 

6. On north side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Jane Wynn, 
who inherited it from her husband, Henry Wynn, who carried 
on the blacksmith business there for about twenty years imtil 
about 1898, in a shop north of the house. Former owner, 
James P. Brown, who built the present house. 

7. A few rods west of Wynn house. Now owned by Miss 
Juliette A. Bosworth. Former owner, Charles M. Pease, who 
built the present house about 1893. 

8. A few rods west of the Bosworth house. Now owned by 
George W. Rice. Former owners: L. G. Bartlett, Juliette A. 
Bosworth, Mrs. Theodosia Bosworth, Dea. Horace Clark. 
Now occupied by Frank Sweatland. This is the building which 
previous to about 1842, was the schoolhouse, which stood on 
the east side of Main Street, just north of the road leading up 
to the Dell cemetery. Afterwards the store and postoffice of 
Luthur B. Bliss, which was moved about 1858 to the west side 
of the street, and used for a tenement, until about 1869, when 
it was moved to the present location. 

9. On south side of street. No. 4 schoolhouse, built in 1905, 
at a total expense of about $5,000 including the land, purchased 
of Mrs. Mary B. Gumey. 

10. Just beyond the schoolhouse. Now owned by William 
A. Rice. Former owners: Mrs. Caroline Lyman, William 
Kent, who built the house about 1865. 

11. ' On north side of street. Now owned by Mrs. Ellen M. 
Stephens who inherited it from her husband, James Stephens. 
Former owner, — — Hendrick — —. 

The Histobt of Wilbraham 


12. Now owned by G. F. Comstock, who purchased it in 1907 
from the estate of Ann Robinson, who purchased it in 1872. 
Purchased by former owners : W. Kent in 1872, James Robin- 
son, (husband of Ann) 1865, Ichabod Marcy, 1858, E. B. Mor- 
gan, 1854, Larkin Fay, 1838, Dr. Jesse W. Rice, 1826. This 
place, like all the others on the north side of Springfield Street 
over to Pole Bridge Brook, are on the tract purchased by 
Charles Brewer in 1781. Larkin Fay bxiilt the house. George 

Od Springfield Street. 

Robinson, son of James and Ann, was killed in the battle of 
the Wilderness, Va., May 5, 1864. 

13. On south side of street. Now owned by J. M. Belcher of 
Springfield. Former owners: Mrs. Sarah Ball, Homer Ball, 

Jones. This building was formerly the shoemakers shop 

of Ezra White, and stood on the east side of Main Street, a few 
rods north of the stone church, and was moved to the present 
site, probably about 1853. Recently in scraping the paint 
from the outside of the house, the name E. WHITE, was 

448 The History of Wilbeaham 

14. On north side of street. Now owned by Fred. Wads- 
worth. Former owners : C. V. Wells, F. Warner, E. W. Beards- 
ley, John Markham, and others. 

15. About forty or sixty rods west of Wadsworth house. 
Now owned by Mrs. Elizabeth (Granger) Burbank. Former 
owners: Judge E. B. Maynard of Springfield, Emma P. Par- 
menter, Whitcomb Grey, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Hitchcock. Just 
east of this place is the cellar hole which marks the site of a 
house owned or occupied, for many years by Alvin Banister. 
Down at the foot of the hill, on the south side of the road, is 
the site of the cheese factory which was erected about 1866, 
and burned some years later. 

16. Passing over the first branch of Pole Bridge Brook, and 
about half way up the small hill beyond, on the north side of 
the street, is the house now owned by George N. Chase. Former 
owners: John W. Robb, L3Tiian Warner, Mrs. Cornelia 
(Brewer) (Newell) Blanchaird, who inherited it from her father, 
Calvin Brewer, who built the house in 1830, and moved into it 
in 1831, as I have learned from old letters in my possession. 
About 1800, a tannery was conducted here by Henry and 
Harvey (or Hervey) Howard. This is the house where the 
confederate flag was displayed in 1861. (See 18, North Main 

Some sixty or eighty rods further to the west, the street 
crosses the second and principal branch of Pole Bridge Brook. 
Fifty or seventy rods further, on the south side of the street, is 
the well where Phebe Ann, the three years old daughter of 
Benoni Atchinson, was drowned in 1830. 

Four comers, where Springfield Street crosses West Street. 
(For a description of the places, see West Street.) 

About half a mile west of West Street, beyond a small trac 
of wood-land, is the original western boimds of the Outward 
Commons. The line is very well defined by the stone walls, 
runjiing north and south on both sides of the street. 

17. On south side of street is the cellar hole which marks the 
site of the Lyman house, burned about 1896. The large bam 

The History of Wilbhaham 449 

is still standing. Now owned by heirs of William H. Lyman. 
Former owners: Wm. H. Lyman, Joel M. Lyman, (perhaps 
Joel Lyman). David Jones lived in this vicinity in 1755. 

18. On north side of street. Now owned by Alex Boubard. 
Former owners: Benj. B. Brewer, Anson C. Brewer. The 
bridge over the brook was called "Kilboms Bridge" in 1755. 

19. A little west of brook, formerly called "Worlds End 
Brook," now owned by Leon L. Jewell. The house was built 
by J. R. Peasiey about 1894. 

20. Very near the Springfield line. Now owned by Charles A. 

Brewer. Former owners: Sturtevant Merrick Co., Smith, 

Ackerman, Bert. Brewer, who built the house about 1890. 

Road to Monson. 

Starting on the east side of Main Street, about one-third of a 
mile south of the Soldiers' Monument, and going easterly 
towards Monson. 

On September 11, 1908, the Springfield Automobile Club 
held a hill climb on this road. A distance of one mile was 
marked off, beginning about twenty-five rods east of Main 
Street and ending forty or sixty rods west of the Ridge Road. 
About eight hundred automobiles were lined up along the 
course and between five and six thousand persons attended and 
witnessed the different events. The mile was made by an 
automobile in one minute, eight seconds, and by an Indian 
motorcycle in one noinute and three-fifths of a second. 

The houses on this road are: 

1. On north side of road. The first building is an old black- 
smith shop. Now owned by Miss Jane E. Hancock. Formerly 
owned and carried on by her father, Moses Hancock. It is not 
in use now. 

2. A few rods east of the old shop. House now owned by F. 

D. Benton. Former owners: Asa Benton, J. Neff, Bridge, 

Adams, W. F. Munsell, Deane. 

450 The History of Wilbkaham 

3. On south side of road, just beyond where the old "Meeting- 
house Lane" crosses the road. Now owned by Edward Evans. 
Former owners : Robert Conboy, Mrs. Josephine (Bliss) John- 
son, E. C. Colton, who built the house about 1868. 

4. On north side. House now owned by heirs of Sophia Eddy. 

Former owners: Abial Eddy, Blakeledge. The house 

was built previous to 1870. 

5. About half way to the top of the mountain. Now owned 
by Charles C. Beebe. Inherited from his father M. F. Beebe. 
Purchased by former owners as follows : Marcus F. Beebe, 1863, 
Brainard T. Brewer, 1845, who built the present house in 1850, 
Luther Brewer 1830, Thomas Merrick 1803, Gideon Burt 1802, 
Stephen Utley, Jr., 4801, Gideon Burt, 1770, Nathaniel Hitch- 
cock, 1760, who built a house there in 1766.. This is one of the 
"Peach farms." 

Opposite this house a road leads to the south to the home of 
C. P. Bolles. 

A little more than a ttiile from Main Street, the road crosses 
the Ridge road at the top of the mountain and begins to 
descend to the east. 

6. On south side of road. House now owned by Mrs. Elvira 
(Day) Blanchard. Former owners: L. Munsell, Dennis 
Knowlton. E. Tupper helped build house. 

7. At the place where a road leads off southwesterly towards 
Hampden. House now owned by John Francovitz, Jr. Former 
owners: Town of Wilbraham, Betsey Webster, Mrs. Lydia 
(Webster) Nelson, Miles Webster, Elijah Webster, who came 
from Hebron, Conn., and purchased the place in 1794. The 
present house was built about 1817, to replace one that stood 
on the north side of the road. This place is on part of the over- 
plus land, and was sold in 1773, by the town of Wilbraham to 
Noah and Solomon Warriner. Much of the land, first pur- 
chased by Elijah Webster, has been sold by different owners. 

The History of Wilbraham 


Since the above was written the house has burned. On the 
north side of the road W. H. Foster has recently set out the 
largest peach orchard in Glendale. 

8. On north side of road just before it crosses East Street is 
the cemetery which was established previous to 1800. In 1805 
the North Parish chose "Duty Partridge, Ebenezer Cadwell, 
I. Stebbins a Committee to fence the Burying Yard over the 

Birthplace of Judge Marcus P. Knowlton, now of Springfield. 

Crossing East Street and going on easterly. 

9. On north side of road. Now owned by George E. Calkins. 
Former owners: C. C. Day, Edson heirs. Mr. Calkins has 
carried on the blacksmith and wagon making business here and 
nearby, since about 1880. 

10. Road leading off in a northeasterly direction towards 
Palmer. At this point the Monson road runs southerly for a 
short distance. 

11. In the fork of the roads. House now owned by Luther L. 
Farr. Former owners: E. A. Day, Lorenzo Munsell, Willard 


The History of Wilbbaham 

F. Munsell, Merrick Knowlton, Julius Nash, Eliphalet Hancock, 
Moses Hancock, Zury Calkins, James Calkins. The house was 
built about 1800. Judge Marcus P. Knowlton of Springfield, 
son of Merrick and Fatima (Perrin) Knowlton, is said to have 
been bom in this house. About 1850 or 1860, a man was 
found frozen to death near this place. 

12. On west side. Now owned by Charles M. Calkins. 
Former owners : Alanson Calkins, Liike Calkins, Mrs. Hancock, 

Now home of Charles M. Calkins. 

Dr. Marshall CaMns, son of Luke and Polly (Hancock) Calkins, 
was bom here September 2, 1828. He has been engaged in the 
practice of medicine in Springfield since 1867, and been very 
successful. David Calkins, M.D., was also bom here. 

13. On east side. Now owned by* Charles M. Calkins. Former 

owners : Luke Calkins, Mixter, who built the house about 

1830. It was long the home of Hudson and Harrison Calkins, 
twin brothers. They were familiarly spoken of as "Hud and 
Hare." . 

The History of Wilbbaham 453 

14. On east side of road. Now owned by Evanore Olds 
Beebe. Former owners: Anne Daniels, Marcus Daniels, Justin 

Daniels, Elijah Plumley, Smith, George Mixter, who was 

a teacher and preacher, and built the house in 1832, for a store 
and tavern, and it may have been used as such for a short time. 
Miss Beebe has made the place noted for her large and fine col- 
lection of antiques and china. Because of the large maple trees 
which beautify the highway, she has called the place Maple- 
hurst. (See History.) 

A little south of this place the road again turns to the east 
and continues on to Monson. 

There are now no other houses in Wilbraham on this road to 

At the point where the road turns to the east, a road leads 
off towards the south tO" Hampden. The houses on that 
road are: 

1. On west side of road. House now owned by Charles M. 
Calkins. Former owners: A. Calkins, Ltike Calkins. The 
house is now unoccupied and badly in need of repairs. 

2. On east side. Now owned by Randolph Beebe. Former 
owners: Mrs. Sarah Gilligan, Ithimar Bliss, Nathan Mack, 
Daniel Chappel. Probably Nathan Mack settled here about 
1785 to 1790. The first mention of the name in the Vital 
Records is, "Nathan, son of Nathan and Mary Mack bom 
Aug. 13, 1791." 

One day, Mary, the wife of Nathan Mack, looking out of the 
door, saw her little daughter sitting on the grass, playing with 
something in her lap. She stole quietly up behind and barely 
stifled a scream as she saw a large rattlesnake curled up in the 
girl's lap. She ran to the cabin, caught up a small tub and 
hiurrying back dropped it down over the snake, which had 
started to crawl off the girl's lap, and drew the child away. 
The mother nearly fainted as she carried her into the cabin. 
The father coming home from his work, saw the tub in the 
yard and picked it up when out sprang the rattler, which he 


The History of Wilbraham 

quickly killed with his hoe. The rattles were cut oflE and 
treasured by the little girl as she grew to womanhood, and 
many years later she gave them to her daughter, and they were 
kept in the family until worn out. The great-great-grand- 
daughter of the little girl, now lives on the same spot where 
the log cabin stood, and often relates this story. 
This is the last house in Wilbraham on this road. 

Scene of the rattlesnake incident. 

On road going northeasterly from Luther Farrs, towards 

1. On west side of road. Cellar hole which marks the site of 
the Reynolds place. Now owned by George E. Calkins. 
Former owners: F. E. Lemon, G. M. Edson, C. E. Edson, 
Stephen Reynolds, who carried on the blacksmith business here 
for many years, and the land is now in possession of his great- 

The History of Wilbhaham 455 

2. On south side of road. Fred Lemon, present owner. 
Former owner, Charles Edson. Part of the house was formerly 
a cider mill. 

3. On north side. Now owned by Leon J. Beimett. Former 
owners: L. L. Farr, E. A. Day, G. M. Edson, C. E. Edson, 
M. Edson, B. Edson, W. Stebbins in 1802, Caleb Stebbins, 
Z. Chapin. This is the last house in Wilbraham, on this road. 


About one mile south of the Soldiers' Monument on the west 
side of Main Street, is a road leading off to the west, called the 
Tinkham road. Probably named after the surveyor who laid 
it out. 

1. About fifty or seventy rods west of Main Street, on the 
north side of the road is the Adams cemetery. Probably so 
called, because of the Adams family, who have lived at the 
junction of this road with Main Street for more than one hun- 
dred years. The first occupant of this cemetery was Elizabeth 
Cockrill "Wo Dyed April y= 26 1741 EAG 39." The. stone at 
her grave is near the southeast comer of the original yard, and 
was erected by her brother-in-law, Samuel Warner at whose 
house she died. Just beyond the cemetery, on the south side of 
the road is a cellar which marks the site of a house which was 
burned about 1870. A little ftirther west, is the site of another 
house which belonged to Danforth Knowlton, who went up into 
the Adirondacks as a giiide about 1868 and died there in 1898. 
He inherited it from his father Manassah Knowlton, who lived 
there about 1850-'60. Former owner, Abel Green. 

2. On south side of road. Now owned by George D. Bull, 
who purchased it in 1908 of Albert A. Phelps, who built the 
house about 1880. 

3. On south side of road. Now owned by Albert A. Phelps, 
who built the house about 1865, and has occupied it ever since. 

456 The History of Wilbbaham 

4. A little further west, on north side of road. Now owned 
by Mrs. Joseph Meyrick. Former owners: Albert Hammer, 
Albert Allen, who built on land purchased of Loren Phelps 
about 1870. 

5. On south side of road. Now owned by Massachusetts 
Commission on Fisheries and Game and occupied by Mr. 
Mosher, Superintendent of the Game Farm. Former owners: 
, , Loren Phelps, who lived here for many years. 

6. A little beyond the superintendent's place, Tinkham Road 
crosses West Street, and passes the house of Mrs. O'Learey at 
what was formerly called "The Wesson Four Comers." Theo- 
dore Gebo carried on the blacksmith business, in a shop just 
south of this house for several years, previous to 1906. 

7. On south side of road. Now owned by Edgar H. Keith and 
Charles E. Keith. Former owners: Hiram A. Keith, Mary A. 

Keith, David Clark, Bennett, Wells L. Phelps, Horace 

Clark, Harvey Clark. 

On the north side of the road, is the site of a house owned by 
Horace Clark previous to 1842. There are now no other houses 
on this road in this town. 

Road leading east from Main Street, starting opposite Tink- 
ham Road. On "The Green." 

1. About one hundred rods east of Main Street. On south 
side of road. House owned by Fred H. M. Spaight and built 
about 1901. 

2. Now owned by John Anderson. Built about 1908. 

3. On north side of road. Now owned by Clarence P. Bolles. 
Used for a tenement and stands in what was formerly "Meeting 
House Lane." 

4. On south side. Home of Clarence P. Bolles. House built 
to replace one burned about 1900. The first minister's house 
stood some ten or twelve rods northwesterly of this place, and 
the first meetinghouse was placed some twenty or twenty-five 

The History of Wilbraham 457 

rods southerly of this house. Former owners: D. Brainard 
Merrick, Pliny Merrick, Jr., Pliny Merrick, Rev. Noah Merrick 
about 1743. The road formerly continued on easterly to the 
Ridge Road at the top of the mountain, but was discontinued 
about 1850 or 1860. 

The Stebbins Road 

This is the most southerly road, running east and west, 
across the town. 

1. About half a mile west of Main Street. Place now owned 
by Mrs. Juliette (Bliss) Soule. Former owners: Albert Bliss, 
Milton Stebbins, Luther Stebbins. About 1850 Milton Stebbins 
built a saw mill here, which was used by himself and Anson 
Soule until about 1905, when a portion of the machinery was 
removed to equip a portable saw mill. These are the only 
buildiilgs now on this road west of Main Street. A few rods 
north of the place where this road leaves Main Street, the road 
runs eastward up the mountain. About one-third of a mile 
east of Main Street. 

1. On north side of road. Now owned by John J. Lyons. 
Former owners: John Work, Edward Bliss, David Bliss (?), 
Philip Lyons in 1768. Just east of the Lyons house, the road 
formerly ran northeasterly from this place up to the meeting- 
house on Wigwam Hill. This road was "new laid" in 1768, 
and altered in 1769. Running northerly "Past Nath. Bliss's 
Shop — ^then north by Philip Lyons House, — ^then about 90 
rods to a staddle north of a brook — ^near 20 rods to a tree at 
northwest comer of Philip Lyons fence — ^then northeasterly to 
a tree on a hill near three rods south of a Bridge — ^thence to the 
Meeting House near 100 rods." At the Lyons house the road 
now turns and runs southerly for about one-third of a mile. 

2. On east side of road. Now owned by heirs of James 
Powers. Former owners : James Brown, David Bliss, Thomas 
Bliss, Nathaniel Bliss, in 1741. 

458 The History of Wilbraham 

3. On west side of road. A cellar hole which marks the site of 
the Charles Foskit place. Now owned by Mrs. Jennie (Foskit) 
Rayen. A little south of this place is supposed to be the loca- 
tion of the home of Samuel Stebbins about 1735. Here the 
road turns again to the east and continues on to Hampden line. 

This completes the list of farms and homes in Wilbraham. 

We trust that these farms may become more and more pro- 
ductive, and that their "beauty spots" may grow larger and 
more beautiful as the seasons come and pass away. And that 
these homes may continue to be dwelling places for happiness 
and love, and that the cheerful voices of the children within 
them, may serve to drive dull care away as the years roll along. 

Town Clerk and Treasurer since 1908. 

The History of Wilbeaham 


This compass is now owned by Alonzo B. Newell of Hampden. It is said to be the 
one used by Lieut. Roger Newbury in his survey of the line between the Outward and 
Inward Commons, in 1729. 





Abbott, Joseph, deposition of, 148. 
Academy, history of, 220. 
Academy South Wilbraham, 294 
Act of Incorporation of Wilbraham, 

Adventists, 232. 
Almanac for 1748, 276. 
Allotment of outward commons, 12. 
Alvord, Noah, 26. 
Andros, Sir Edmund, 7. 
Andre, Maj. John, 189. 
Aqueduct Co., 218, assessment of, 

Automobiles in parade, 332. 
Avery, Abraham, his Presbyterian 

saddle, 324. 
Antiques, esdiibitions of, 341, 348, 


Baptists, in north village, 277, 
society of, organized, 277, min- 
ister settled, 278, meetinghouse 
erected, 278, in Monson and Wil- 
braham, 202, in South Parish, 
208, petition of, 212. 

Baptisms, twenty-seven at one 
service, 170. 

Barker, Ezra, called "Master", 74. 

Barton, Phebe, spinster, 148. 

Beaver Dam, 19. 

Belcher, Jonathan, Gov., 36. 

Bennington Alarm, men who went, 

Bernard Era. Gov., 93. 

Bliss, Ensign Abel, commissioned, 
85, house of, 76, Indian boy at, 77. 

Bliss, Ethelbert, peach industry, 

Bliss, John, 132, copy from papers 
■ of, 146. 

Bliss Aaron, complaint against, 146. 

Bounties to soldiers, 127, subscribers 
to, 128, care of families of, 126. 

Brewer, Isaac, 48, for "Riging his 
chamber," 57, tavern of, 48, son 
Charles baptized, 59, Inn of 
Charles, 193. 

Burt, Dea. Moses, 27. 

Burying yards, fencing of 158, 

monuments in, 159. 
Business of the town, 264. 
Business floats in parade, 337. 

Cadwell, Capt. Daniel at Ticon- 
deroga, roU of his company, 139. 

Calkins, Dr. MarshaU, 352. 

California Adventurers, 301. 

Camp meeting, 196. 

Cantata, 347. 

Celebration, history of, 329, days 
of. III dinner, 340, newspaper 
accounts of, 329, loan erfiibit, 
341, automobiles in parade, 332, 
business floats in, 337, historical 
floats in, 334. 

Cemetery, Adams, 158, Glendale, 
158, Woodland Dell, 308. 

Cheese Factories, 269. 

Churches, First, history of, from 
1794, 149, burned, 168, Method- 
ist, 190, First Baptist, 276, Second 
Baptist, 202, at Glendale, 279, 
Grace Union, 281, Christian 
Union, 283, Second Methodist, 
283, Church of Saint Cecilia, 284. 

Civil War, 237, men fturnished, 239, 
bounties, 241, return of the flags, 
243, personal experiences in, 245, 
men in, 251, men drafted, 255. 

Clark, Rev. Seth, 277, Mr., donor of 
land for schools, 231. 

Clothing, 147. 

Crane Park, 259. 

Cockril, widow Elizabeth, grave of, 

CoUins Mfg. Co., 266. 

The Cutler Co., 266. 

Cutler, Henry, 345. 

Deed of part of Outward Commons, 

Distillery, 414. 
Division of the town, 297. 
Drawing in schools, 290. 
"Dreams," 201, 315. 

The History of Wilbbaham 

Early Emigrants, 1. 

Elegy on Timothy Merrick, 81, 

author of, 84. 
Elbows or Kingstown, 74, 95. 
Ely, Samuel, 131. 

Floats in parade, 330. 

Fragments, 312. 

French war, Warner's Journal of, 86. 

Farms and Homes, 360. 

First day of celebration, 329. 

Game, 19, game farm, 398. 
Glendale, history of church, 280, 

incorporation of, 281, celebration 

at, 348. 
Glover, Rev. Pelatiah, 8. 
Grace Union Church, 281. 
Green, The, 142. 

Hampden, town of, incorporated, 

Highways, see Roads. 
Historical floats in parade, 334. 
Hitchcock, Nathaniel, first settler, 

24, John, largest subscriber to 

bounty money, 128. 
Hoe, The Old Broken, 145. 
Holyoke, John, 13. 
Houses, finish and furniture of, 31. 

Indian deed of Outward Commons, 

Incorporation of Wilbraham, 91. 
Indians in, 20. 
"Inner Commons," 17. 
Introduction, 1. 

"Keeping" Saturday evening, 66. 

Kilborn's Bridge, 75. 

Kibbe, Israel, Lieut Gideon, Dr. 

Gideon, 79. 
Kingstown, 95. 
Knowlton, Judge, Marcus P., 349. 

Lamb, Daniel, 63. 
Langdon, John, in Shepards army, 

Langdon, Capt Paul, roll of com- 
pany, 138. 

"Lejdngton Alarm," 123, roll of 
Warriner's Company, 138. 

Library, 143, shares in, 143, receipts 
for shares sold, 144. 

Loan money, 160. 

Loan exhibit, 341, 348. 

Ludlow Mfg. Associates, 266. 

Lyon, Marcus, murder of, 182, body 
found, 182, captiure of murderers, 
182, execution of, 185, Ballad, 

Manchonis Pond, 16, tragedy of, 

170, lease of, 180. 
Manufactories, domestic, 264. 

Maps and paintings of Wnbraham, 

Memorial Hall, 298. 
Merrick, David, 29. 

Merrick, Dr. Samuel F., 2, journal 
of, 136. 

Merrick, Pliny, Esq., 190. 

Merrick, Thomas 2nd, 29, commis- 
sioned lieutenant, 85. 

Merrick, Delos D., letters of, 215. 

Merrick, Timothy, bitten by rattle- 
snake, 79, ode on, 81, different 
versions of ode, 82. 

Merrick, Rev. Noah, a candidate, 
40, called to settle, 42, conditions 
of settlement, 42, letter of accept- 
ance, 43, ordination of, 44, house 
of, 50, marriage of, 51, his negro, 
61, trouble about salary and land, 
62—102, council, 103, death, 105, 
character of, 105, ancestry of , 105, 
his account book, 106, monument 
of, 159. 

Merrick, Mrs. Abigal, 51, 105. 

Meetinghouse, 47, materials for, 54, 
vote to build, history of location 
and erection, 65, first use of, 59, 
unfinished condition of, 62, wor- 
ship in, 65, view from, 63, seating 
of, 67, removing of, to street, 149, 
bell on, 157, end of, three loca- 
tions for, 58, when erected, 59. 

Index of Historical Pabt 


Meetings, where held before build- 
ing meetinghouse, 57. 

Meetinghouse Lane, 61. 

Merrill, Rev. Daniel, 189. 

Methodists, in South Parish, 190, 
history of in North Parish, 190, 
petition for society of, 193, reply 
to by parishes, 194, another peti- 
tion for society, 197, incorporated, 

197, legacy to, 197, sold pews, 

198, pew attached, 198, parson- 
age, 199, stone church, 200, 
poem, historic church, 200. 

Mills, Stebbins', 265, Collins Mfg. 
Co., 267. 

The Cutler Co., 266, Ludlow Mfg. 
Associates, 266. 

Militia, 212. 

"Minister Money," 160. 

Ministry lots, 8, where, and dis- 
posal of, 71, set to the town, 71, 
sold, 116. 

Minnechaug, 19. 

Money, depreciation of, 125, anec- 
dote of, 131. 

Monument, soldiers', 258. 

"Mountains" or Outward Com- 
mons of Springfield, 8, division of, 
13, names of proprietors, 13, 
Indian name of, 19, Indians in, 
20, early settlers of, 24. 

Music in schools, 289. 

Newbury, Roger, survey of, record 
of, 17, ditches of, 18. 

Nine Mile Pond, tragedy of, 170, 
odes on, 176, lease of by the 
town, 180, efforts to increase the 
fish supply, 180, fish caught in 
1881, 181, bungalows erected, 181. 

"Outward Commons," see Moun- 
tains, 8. 

"Overplus land," deed of to minis- 
ter, 38, value of, 41, set to the 
town, 71. 

Parade, 331. 

Parishes, 107, North, history of, 
149, South Parish set off, 107, 
meetinghouse, 147, case of disci- 
pline, 148. 

Parson's Rose (The), 52. 

Peach industry, 269. 

Peggy's Dipping Hole, 32. 

Pepper, Calvin, oration of, 189. 

Pew doors, 70, leasing of pews, 157, 
sale of pews, 198. 

Physicians, 297. 

Preaching, money for, given by 
Springfield, 36. 

Preaching in south part refused, 

Precinct, petition for, 33, incorpora- 
tion of, 36, first meeting of, 37, 
officers of, 37, movement to be 
made a town by, 60, 89. 

Poor, disposal of, 321. 

Population in 1741, 34, in 1760, 70. 

Postoffice and mail stages, 368. 

Potashes, 265. 

Pound built, 47, on Springfield 
Street in 1812, 445. 

Pynchon, William, 2. 

Pynchon, Col. John, his lot, 9. 

Railroads, 214, first station, 215, 
anecdote of, 215, present station 
established, 430. 

Railway, electric, 300. 

Rebellion of 1861, spirit of the 
people, 238, number of men fur- 
nished, 255, men killed or died in, 

Representatives, 295. 

Revolutionary war, 116, appeal of 
Boston merchants, 117, vote of 
town upon, 117, committee of 
correspondence, 118, reply to 
Boston appeal, 118, Gage in 
Boston, 120, non-consumption 
report, 120, signers of pledge of, 
121, "minute men," 122, Lexing- 
ton alarm, 123, soldiers in, 138, 
died or killed in, 141, pensioners, 

Rindge, Jane, diary of, 318. 

Roads, 31, by ministers garden, 60, 
Meetinghouse Lane, 61, Old 
Road, Worcester to Hartford, 
list of towns and taverns, 273. 

RusseU, town of, 7. 


The History of Wilbraham 

Second day of celebration, 342. 
Sessions, Sumner, woolen mill of, 

Schools, appropriations for, 72, 
schoolhouse, 73, first money by 
town, 94, school lot, 98, districts, 
98, 289, teachers, 98, books, 98, 
grammar schools, 288, boarding 
around, 287, money for, granted 
by Springfield before incorpora- 
tion, 30, 72, improvement of, 291, 
private, 288. Drawing, 289, 
instruction in music, 289, flags of, 
289, table of expenses, 290, gradu- 
ating exercises, 291. 

Shaw, Capt. James, "Bennington 
Alarm," roll of company, 139. 

Shays, Daniel, insurrection of, 133. 

Sikes and Pease, stages of, 314. 

Singing, 99. 

Sixteen acres, 31. 

Slaves, 309. 

Soldiers, clothing for, 144, subscrip- 
tion to raise money for, 128, 
diflBculty of obtaining, 126, in war 
of 1812, 142, in Civil war, 251. 

Song of the Hoe, 145. 

South Parish, early settlers of, 79, 
set off, 107, work on meeting- 
house, 147, set off as a town, 297, 

Springfield, when settled, 3, extent 
of, 7. 

Stebbins, Samuel, 27, Stebbins 
Road, 29, 457. 

Stebbins, Caleb, grant of land for 
his mill, 265. 

Supreme Court, suit in, about Loan 
Money, 160. 

Surplus Revenue, 226. 

Tanneries, 265. 

Tavern, 48, 193. 

Telephone, 301. 

Terry, Ezekiel, 188. 

Third day of celebration, 348. 

Ticonderoga, expedition to, 124. 

Tobacco, raising of, 268. 

Tories, 122. 

Torrey, Nathan, elegy on Timothy 
Merrick, 81. 

Toll Gate, 318. 

Town meeting, first, 96. 

Town HaU, 298. 

Town Crier, Frontispiece. 

Town Loan, 228. 

"Training Day," 213. 

Turnpike, The Wilbraham, 319. 

Underground railroad, 311. 

Valuation, 113, 250, increase in, 272. 

War of 1812, men sent to, 142. 

War, Civil,, 237, return of the flags, 
243, personal experiences in, 245, 
men in, 251, men drafted, 255. 

Warden, office of, 94. 

Warner, Daniel, 26, his daughter 
Comfort, 30. 

Warner, Samuel, 27, record kept by, 
28, journal of, 86, items from, 275. 

Warner, James, receipts of, 314, 
■''dream" of, 315, conductor of 
stage, 314. 

Warriner, Nathaniel, death, will of, 
108. Capt. James, disburses 
money for building first school- 
house, 72, roll of his company, 

Washout at Eleven Mile Brook, 261, 
newspaper accounts of, 261. 

Weshaugan, 21. 

Wigwam Hill, view from, 63. 

Wilbraham, Indian name of, , 19, 
description of, 19, Indians in, 20, 
early settlers of, 24, petition for 
incorporation sent to Springfield, 
90, act of incorporation, 91, name 
of, 93, additions to territory of, 
95, population of, 96, first town 
meeting, 96, refuse preaching in 
south part, 107. 

Wilbraham, Turnpike, 319, Wilbra- 
ham Woolen Co., 424, Tories in, 
122, attempt to make two towns 
of, 107, business of, 264, valua- 
tion of property in, 113, increase 
in valuation, 273, town clerks of, 
296, representatives of, 295, divi- 
sion of, 297, paintings of, 325. 

Woodland Dell Cemetery, 308. 

World's End Brook, 75. 





Bridge, William D., 




Brodeur, PranV A., 


Alden, Carlos, 




Allis House, 


Brooks, Joshua L., , 


AUyn, Ward A., 


Bruuer, Mrs. Laura and M. L., 367 

Anderson, John, 


Bryant, Albro J., 


AngeU, F. M., 


Bull, George D., 


Ash, Mrs. Mary, 


Burbank, Mrs. Elizabeth, 


Burdon, Peter, 



Burts, Lane, 


Babineau, Philip, 


Butler, William, 


Baldwin, Joseph, heirs. 


" James K., 

439, 440 






" Mrs. Maria, 


Cady, Mrs. George, 


Barcome, Charles, 


Calkins, John A., 




" James, 


Beebe, Charles C, 


George E., 

451, 454 

Evanore 0., 


" Charles M., 

452, 453 

" Randolph, 


Cemetery, West Street, 


Belcher, J. M., 


" East Wilbraha.m, 


Bell, A. Linden, 




Bennett, J, Addison, 




" Leon J., 


Chandler, Mrs. George, 


Benton, Plavel D., 

438, 450 

Chapin, Mrs. Sarah W., 


Bishop, 'Chauncey, 




Blanchard, Mrs. Elvira, 


Chase, George N., 


Bliss, Walter M., 


Chilson, Arthur A., 


" Ethelbert, 


Church, Congregational, 


Henry M., 


" Methodist, 


" Levi R., heirs, 


" Saint Cecilia, 


Bodurtha, F. A., 




Bolles, Clarence P., 


" Grace Union, 


Bosworth, Mrs. Luthera E 


" Christian Union, 


Juliette A., 


Clark, Edgar C, 


Boubard, Alex, 


Clealand, Andrew, 


Boylan, A. L., 


Coe, Mrs. Sarah (Adams), 


Bradway, Nelson I., 


Collins, W. L., estate. 


Brewer, E. Louise, 399, 

399, 401 

Mfg. Co., 

436, 438 

" Charles A., 


Cooley, Mrs. James C, 



The History op Wilbbaham 



Coote, Mrs. Fannie, 


Friend, Augustus P., 


Comstock, G. P., 


Frost, George J., 




Puller, Mrs. Anna, 


Cormack, Alexander, 


" Frank A., 



Craig, John, 



Gates, Rev. Charles H., 
" E. O., estate, 
" E. B., estate, 

Crane, Mrs. Laura, 
Cutler Co., 
" H. Willis, 


395, 438 




Game Farm, State, 



Damon, Dr. A. L., 
Day, Mrs. Martha A., 
Day, Robert W., 
Dempsey, Mary, 
Driscoll, Maurice, 
Dumane, John B., 
Dutille, Hermenigile, 


Gange, Lexyebert, 
Gebo, Theodore, 

" Mrs. Edna, 
Gillet, Mrs. Sarah B., 
Gleason, E. A., 


Godfrey, Mrs. Sarina E., 
Goodrich, William, 




Grange Hall, 


Eaton, William T., 


Graves, Herbert H., 


" Delbert H., 


Green, Fred W., 



Ebright, John B., 


' Mrs. Mary (Howard), 


Eddy, Dwight W., 


Benj. P., 



" Sophia, heirs. 


Herbert P., 


Edson, Mrs. Leola, 


' Mrs. Herbert P., 


H. I. and Clarence, 


'^ Henry M., 



Elpert, H. and M., 


' Mrs. Henry, 


Ely, George W., 

407, 408 

" Benjamin B., 


Evans, Edward, 


Griswold, D. C, 


Faculty Street, 

Gurney, Mrs. Mary B., 



" Prank A., 


Parr, Albert L., 



" James H., 


Hancock, Jane E., 



" Luther L., 


Hardy, Charles W., 


Piles, Gardiner W., 


Harmony Grove, 


Fitzgerald, William, 


Hitchcock, Charles B., 


" Mrs. Margaret, 


Hodgkins, Louise M., 


Flagg, Mrs. Nancy M., 


Holland, Seymour, 


Flanigan, James, 


HoUingsworth, Amelia L. 


Foskit, Mrs. Lucia S., 


HoUister, ^rs. Julia P., 


Foster, William H., 


Holman, Edith A., 


Francovitz, John, 


Home, C. Francis, 


John, Jr., 



ibbard, Charles L., 


Index of Farms and Homes of Wilbeaham 


Hulmes, George W., 367 

Hurd, William, heirs, 386 

Jewell, Leon L., 449 

Johnson, Josephine B., 367 

Jones, Edmund W., 399 


Keefe, Timothy, 436 

Keith, Edgar and Charles, 456 

Kelly, John, estate, 423 

KeUey, John, 444 

Keyes, Elias S., 367 

Knowlton, George E., 366 

Lane, Marshall A., 


Lapine, Amos, 





403, 425 

Leach, Clinton C, 


Leahy, Michael, 


Lemon, Fred, 


Levigne, Paul L., 




Lines, Thomas, 


Liversage, William E., 


Lyman, Edward N., 


William H., heirs. 


Lynch, Bernard, " 


Lyons, Thomas, 


" John J., 



Macdowell, Edward, 404 

MacLain, James G., 388 

Manchonis Club, 428 

McDonald, James P., 403 

McFarland, Mrs. Mary, 404 

McGuire, William H., 387 

Merrick, Dr. Samuel P., 369 

C. S. and Fannie M., 370 

Samuel P., heirs, 370 

Fannie M., 380 


Merrill, Rev. Nathaniel, heirs, 392 

Meyrick, Mrs. Joseph, 456 

Metcalf, Mrs. Edna, 419 

Methodist Parsonage, 379 

Millard, Mrs. Beatrice L., 391 

Miller, Mrs. Anna, 435 

Miniter, Mrs. Edith, 410 

MoUoy, John, 364 

Monument Lot, 360 

Moody, Carrie A., 445 

Moore, Mrs. Lizzie G., 373 

Mary P., 428 

Morris, Robert O., 396 

Morgan, Effie, 408 

W. Frank, 408 

James S., 441 

Mowry, Charles N., 381 

WiUiam A., 394 

" Mrs. Emma, 

429, 432, 433, 436 

Munsell, Mrs. Martha C, 362 
Murphy, Thomas J., 393, 428 


Netupski, Karney, 413 

Newton, Mrs. William A., 364 

Newton, Fayette C, 376 

Nims, Thomas H., 369 

Noble, Rev. Charles, estate. 448 

Northrop, Mrs. J. N., 424 


Ogilvie, David, 404 

O'Leary, Timothy H., heirs, 398 


Parish, C. W., 425 

Parsonage, Deacon Warriner, 364 

Parsonage, Grace Church, 435 

Patterson, Mrs. Edith (Ely), 407 

Patch, William V., 393 

Pease, George W., heirs, 370 

" Jerome, 372 

" Dr. James M., 401 


The Histoey of Wilbhaham 


Pease, Clarence E., 401 

" Gilbert H., 402 

Peck, Chauncey E., 377, 379 

" Anna A., 445 

Peggy's Dipping Hole Road, 402 

Pellerine, Louis, 406 

Perry, George F., 404 

" George, 406 

" J. M., 396, 434 

" Mrs. Inez, 441 

Phelps, Fred C, 419 

Albert A., 465 

PhiUips, A. H., , 376 

Pickens, Mrs. Martha R., 372 

Poolroom, 438 

Potter, Charles S., 4lO 

Powers, Dennis, heirs, 395 

" Michael, estate, 403 

" JohnW., ' 425 

" John, 429 

" James, heirs, 457 

Principal's House, 381 


Railroad Station, 430 

Rauh, Nichols, 401 

Rayen, Mrs. Jennie F., 372, 457 

Reader, John H., 391 

Rice, Lee W., 370, 372, 373 

" Jesse L., 373 

" J. Wilbur, 373 

" William A., 446 

" George W., 446 

Rich HaU, 381 

Rindge, George L., 419 

Ripley, Mrs. Isabel, 366 

Ritchie, James, 444 

Robbins, Mrs. Calvin G., 385 

Rogers, William G., 384 

Rose, George C, 425 

Sackett, Richard J., 365 

SchooUiouse, District 1, 400 

Schoolhouse, District 2, 


" 4, 

" 5, 

" 6, 


" 8, 

Seaver, AUyn M., 

Sherwin, Mrs. James S., 

Smith, Arthur F., 

Soule, Mrs. Jxiliette, 
Speight, Mrs. Addie S., 

" Fred H. M., 
Stacy, Louis G., 
Starr, J. Herbert, 
Steadman, W. H., 
Stephens, Edward M., 

Mrs. Ellen M., 
Swain, John, 
Sweeny, Mrs. Daniel, 


Thompson, Mrs. William, 

" Ernest L., 

Toll Gate, 
Torrey, Albert W., 
Towne, E., 
Towne, Mrs. F. A., 
Trask, Robert P., 
Tripp, Lewis C, 
Tupper, Herbert E., 


Vinton, Charles W., 


Wade, Marshall C, 
Wadsworth, Fred, 
Wallace, William N., 
Wall, Mrs. Frances, 
Warren, Mrs. Lizzie, 
Warren & Bradway> 
Warriner, A. L., 


"441, 443 

387, 446 




365, 367 

Index of Fakms and Homes of Wilbbaham 



Watering Tank, 


Welch, Mrs. Rose M., 


" Robert, 


White, Mrs. Lena S., 


" Mrs. S. F., 


Whitney, William, 411 

Willis, Rev. Josiah G., 369 

Wright, Emily, 384 

Wynn, Mrs. Jane, 446